What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery.  Victims are controlled and forced to perform labor, or are sexually exploited, or both.  Children under age 18 induced into commercial sex are victims of human trafficking whether or not traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion.  The legal definitions for sex and labor trafficking are below

Under California law, children who are sexually trafficked, or who receive food or shelter for, or paid to perform sex acts, are victims of child abuse.  Sex Trafficking, or the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), is happening to boys and girls right here in El Dorado County.  Take the quiz below to find out how much YOU know about human trafficking, and to learn some new facts.

Sex Trafficking

“The recruitment, harboring, transportation, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the personhttp://southtahoenow.com/story/06/25/2018/south-lake-tahoe-jury-finds-man-guilty-pandering-and-pimping induced to perform, such act has not attained age 18 years of age.”

Labor Trafficking

“The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”

Quiz about Human Trafficking — what do YOU know?

A Real Life Example of how Human Trafficking is applied in the Courts

This article, where the South Lake Tahoe jury finds a man guilty of pandering and pimping,  showcases the difference between Human Trafficking and Pandering & Pimping charges and how they play out in the court system.  I asked PATH’s consultant, John Vanek, about this case and here is his response:  California has two separate criminal sections for pimping and pandering.  In short, pimping occurs when someone (the pimp) either knowingly receives financial support from someone engaging in prostitution, or from soliciting clients for the prostitute.  Pandering occurs when someone encourages another to engage in prostituting, or facilitates their engagement in prostitution (such as driving them to dates, etc.).

For Human Trafficking to occur – and if the victims are over 18 – the prosecution must show that force, fraud, or coercion was used to compel the victims to engage in commercial sex.  The article says the suspect was also charged with human trafficking, but the jury failed to convict.  It’s possible the circumstances of the case didn’t include evidence strong enough to prove force, fraud, or coercion.

Also, pimping and pandering are “crimes against the state” while human trafficking is a “crime against a person.”  The article doesn’t mention anything about how the women involved in the prostitution were treated by the suspect.  Pimping and Pandering don’t require a victim; they just need to show that someone was engaged in commercial sex and another person was involved in the pimping and pandering activities.

Finally, under California law and federal law, force, fraud, or coercion need not be proven to convict for human trafficking if the victim is under 18.  The article doesn’t mention the ages of the women involved, but they were probably all adults.

As you can see, once human trafficking charges get in the court system, there is a high bar for being able to convict someone for human trafficking.  6/26/18

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