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Florida has become a “zero tolerance” state for human trafficking and state lawmakers have toughened the laws to punish those convicted of this crime. Elected officials, law enforcement and businesses have joined a statewide campaign to prevent the trafficking of men, women and children within Florida and outside of its borders.  If you are suspected of human trafficking in Florida, whether or not you are actually involved in the act, it is prudent to seek counsel from a lawyer who is capable of handling the complicated legal issues involved in this matter. Contact the law firm of Katz & Phillips, P.A. where you can speak to our attorneys today about your case.

Do I Need a Florida Human Trafficking Attorney?

Florida’s law defines human trafficking as a “form of modern-day slavery.” According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office , the law, which took effect July 1, 2012:

  • Increases penalties for a human smuggling charge from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony
  • Designates individuals convicted of human sex trafficking as sex offenders and sex predators
  • Allows property used for human trafficking subject to forfeiture
  • Requires massage parlors and their employees to show valid photo identification when asked

If you find yourself unexpectedly thrust into the criminal justice system in connection with human trafficking, your life and your family or business could be permanently altered. Seek legal advice immediately before any further issues develop.

Are Human Trafficking Cases Prosecuted Equally?

Florida is not alone in cracking down on the human trafficking industry since states around the country are also passing laws aimed at supporting victims and punishing the perpetrators of human trafficking. However, in the efforts to curtail the problem, reports have surfaced regarding innocent business owners and employees being investigated after unknowingly providing services to people actually involved in human trafficking. For instance, a limousine service could provide transportation for an adult accompanied by a teenager to a legitimate establishment, while not knowing that the adult is trafficking the teenager. The owner of the limousine service could face tough questioning by police just as if the owner played a role in a human trafficking ring. Without the advice of an attorney, it’s possible that the owner could face some type of prosecution or further criminal investigation.

While criminal defense attorneys have been speaking out against human trafficking, they are also aggressive in their efforts to defend businesses or individuals who are charged with, yet not a part of, the human trafficking industry. Criminal defense attorneys are also ensuring that the civil and legal rights of defendants who admit to human trafficking are not violated during the court process. The work of a Florida human trafficking lawyer is important since defendants charged with human trafficking offenses could face penalties of up to life in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges.

Get Representation With a Florida Human Trafficking Law Firm

Florida’s legislation gives jurisdiction for human trafficking offenses to the Statewide Prosecutor’s Office and the Statewide Grand Jury. Therefore, if you are a suspect in a human trafficking case, you need a lawyer, like James D. Phillips, who is capable of going up against a higher level state office. Mr. Phillips, founding partner of Katz & Phillips, P.A., knows what prosecutors look for when investigating cases, having worked as an assistant state attorney prosecuting major felony crimes. Mr. Phillips is now a defense attorney handling cases involving violent crime and felonies punishable by life at both the state and federal level.
Katz & Phillips, P.A. is the firm you can turn to for legal advice. We also provide a free evaluation of your case. Contact us today to discuss the legal options that are available to you under Florida’s human trafficking laws.