Federal Human Trafficking Defense Lawyer in Columbia, SC

Our federal human trafficking defense lawyers in Columbia, SC represent people charged under U.S. law. If you are facing human or sex trafficking charges, get legal help now. Call Shealey Law Firm at 803-590-3917 to request your consultation with us.

Federal Human Trafficking Attorneys Serving Columbia, SC

You can have an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer represent you against federal charges. At Shealey Law Firm, we are skilled at representing people charged with sex and human trafficking offenses throughout South Carolina.

Begin with a free consultation. We can start representing you immediately.

18 U.S. Code § 1591 – Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion

There are three sex trafficking offenses prohibited by 18 U.S. Code § 1591 – participating in sex trafficking, benefitting from sex trafficking and obstructing enforcement of sex trafficking laws.

Participating in sex trafficking

It is unlawful to:

  • Recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, advertise, maintain, patronize or solicit
  • A person
  • Within the jurisdiction of the United States
  • Knowing that:
    • Force, threats, fraud or coercion will cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, OR
    • The person is under 18, and they will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.

If the offensive act is advertising, a person is in violation of the law if they act with reckless intent, rather than knowingly.

Where the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim, the government doesn’t need to prove the defendant’s knowledge or reckless disregard of the victim’s age.

Benefitting from sex trafficking

It is unlawful to benefit from participation in sex trafficking as defined in 18 U.S. Code § 1591(a)(1), discussed above. Benefitting means receiving something financial or anything of value.

Obstructing enforcement of sex trafficking laws

It is unlawful to obstruct, attempt to obstruct, interfere with, or prevent enforcement of United States sex trafficking laws.

Penalty for Federal Sex Trafficking Offenses

  • If the offense involved force, threats of force, fraud or coercion: Mandatory 15 years minimum in prison, up to life in prison, and a fine.
  • If the victim was under 14 years old: Mandatory 15 years minimum in prison, up to life in prison, and a fine.
  • If the victim was 14-18 years old, and the offense does not involve force, threats of force fraud or coercion: Minimum 10 years in prison, up to life in prison, and a fine.
  • If the offense is obstructing enforcement of sex trafficking laws: Up to 25 years in prison, a fine, or both.

18 U.S. Code Chapter 77 – Human Trafficking Laws

  • 18 U.S. Code § 1581 – Slavery, indentured servitude – up to 20 years and a fine; aggravated, up to life
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1582 – Vessels for slave trade – up to 7 years and a fine
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1583 – Enticement into slavery – up to 30 years and a fine; if aggravated, up to life
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1584 – Sale into involuntary servitude, up to 20 years and a fine; if aggravated, up to life
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1585 – Slave trade activities – up to 7 years and a fine
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1586 – Working on a slave trade vessel – up to 2 years and a fine
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1589 – Forced labor – up to 20 years and a fine, if aggravated, up to life
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1590 – Trafficking in slavery, involuntary servitude, forced labor – up to 20 years and a fine, if aggravated, up to life
  • 18 U.S. Code § 1592 – Documents in furtherance of trafficking – up to 5 years, a fine, or both

United States Jurisdiction for Human and Sex Trafficking Offenses

South Carolina law prohibits human and sex trafficking. However, the United States also has laws prohibiting human and sex trafficking. Federal laws apply throughout the jurisdiction of the United States. You may be charged under state law by state officials, or under federal law by U.S. officials.

Federal charges in South Carolina are brought in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The district is divided into divisions, and there are multiple courthouses to hear cases.

Although the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment prohibits double jeopardy, concurrent jurisdiction allows prosecution under both state and federal laws.

Defenses to Human and Sex Trafficking Charges

If you’re charged with human or sex trafficking, you may be facing life in prison. The defense you present is very important.

If the government fails to prove a single element of the charges, they have not proved the case against you. You may challenge intent and that your actions don’t meet the definitions of trafficking. Consent may be a defense, lack of knowledge or a lawful explanation. You may challenge the admissibility of evidence or constitutional violations in the government’s investigation.

As your lawyers, we investigate and prepare a personalized legal strategy. We will pursue every avenue to build your defenses and fight the charges against you.

Other Human Trafficking Laws and Treaties

22 USC Chapter 78 – Trafficking Victims Protection

Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act, creation of the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking and minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000

Authorizes federal funds, health benefits and services to trafficking victims, regardless of immigration status.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017

Strengthens reporting requirements and screening protocol for federal anti-trafficking efforts.

1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol

International treaties outlining legal rights and assistance for refugees.

Aggressive Defense, Experienced Representation

With Shealey Law Firm as your federal human trafficking defense lawyers, you have a legal team that you can trust. We’ll aggressively litigate your case.

Contact us as soon as you are facing charges or an investigation.

We can begin preparing your defense right away, and represent you at all court appearances.

You can have experienced legal representatives representing you in every aspect of your case. For a free consultation, and to see how our law firm can assist you, we invite you to call 803-590-3917 or message us online.


Get a Case Review

Ask us to evaluate your case by submitting a few details about your situation below.

"*" indicates required fields

By submitting this form, you agree to receive calls or text messages about your case from Shealey Law Firm. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.