Sex trafficking is illegal under both criminal and civil law. Sex trafficking is when someone forces a victim to travel, typically from one city, state, or country to another location, for purposes of sexual exploitation. Traffickers tend to target especially vulnerable people, such as younger women and refugees. Often victims are lured into captivity via the promise of employment or immigration status, and then forced to have commercialized sex against their will.
Sex trafficking victims have legal rights against their traffickers, the individuals who had unlawful sex with them, and institutions like hotels that profited from the trafficking. For example, a federal law known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act or TVPA allows survivors to bring civil claims against traffickers, as well as otherwise legitimate businesses that profit from trafficking. Portions of the TVPA are codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1595, which provides a private right of action—a basis to sue—for victims of sex trafficking.
State laws also protect victims of sex trafficking. For example, Georgia negligence law and other tort doctrines, like battery, can be used against traffickers. Businesses that host, facilitate, or knowingly profit from sex trafficking can be liable under Georgia’s RICO statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-14-1 et seq.
Sex trafficking is a major problem in Atlanta because of the city’s role as a hub for international and domestic travel. Every year, advocacy groups for survivors and law enforcement receive thousands of calls for help and tips in Georgia alone.
The Block Firm has significant experience representing trafficking victims. If you or your loved ones are survivors, please contact us to discuss your rights.
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