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Posted on August 16, by Michael Lowe. Human trafficking laws exist at both the federal and state levels; anyone arrested on these charges faces serious felony time if convicted. However, the reality has been that federal prosecutions have been fiercer and with more bite than those charges at the state level.
Texas is still in the process of passing laws outlawing sex trafficking. See, e. Among them are educational efforts, such as posting human trafficking awareness s in massage schools, as well as victim-support, including providing rape shield laws to human trafficking victims. Greg Abbott with a couple strokes of a pen executed an important shift in the fight against human trafficking in this state. Abbott ed into law two bills that finally increase the punishment for the purveyors in this soul-crushing criminal enterprise.
Too often, our criminal justice system has been tougher on the victims ensnared in this disgusting trade than on the traffickers themselves. We know that online sites for decades have been the vehicle for these multimillion-dollar operations that sell humans into modern-day slavery. And almost as soon as authorities shut down one of these sites, another pops up in its place…. These two new laws become effective on September 1, Essentially, they expand the current state criminal code to incorporate the reality that lots of business — including illegal activities involving sex crimes — takes place over the web, as online operations.
The first change we find in this new legislation is new definitions are added to the Texas Penal Code pertaining to online activities. First, there is the new offense of online promotion of prostitution, defined as a 3rd degree felony, generally speaking. However, it can become a 2 nd degree felony 1 upon prior conviction, or 2 if the conduct involves a person under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the offense. Second, there is the new state sex crime of aggravated online promotion of prostitution.
This is defined as a 2nd degree felony, generally, but it can become a 1 st degree felony upon 1 prior conviction or 2 if the conduct involves a person under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the offense. Effective September 1,Chapter 43 of the Texas Penal Code will officially include the following:. Alexis Kennedy. It is understood that an overwhelming amount of the international market share of prostitution involves marketing over the Internet. No longer is prostitution a business that takes place on street corners or darkened bars.
Today, internet marketing brings customers directly to indoor locations massage parlors; hotel rooms; apartments; strip clubs; etc.
Those in the prostitution business are often following the same kind of marketing plans as those in legitimate service industries. The internet has changed how business is done for almost everyone. For the prostitution enterprise, smart phones work together with online advertisements on Craigslist or various dating sites as well as social media sites like Facebook to bring in business.
Skype is a big help. They may also delve into specific areas of the web where they think their customers may be found, including gaming with Xbox Live or online in real-time with games like World of Warcraft. Gaming is a particularly great marketing opportunity here since users are often able to communicate with each other as part of the game technology. Boyd, Danah, et al. Key here is gaining a communication route between the business and the customer over the internet, where it is difficult for police to know what is going on, much less track the activity.
Of course, there is a hub to the wheel; however, the middleman here is an internet service provider, which will deny liability or responsibility for any content found on a website.
It is no wonder that law enforcement has been frustrated with attempts to investigate, arrest, and charge those involved in prostitution operations in Texas today. And it is to be expected that the ability to prosecute using these two new online-focused statutes will be welcomed by police and prosecutors ready to make arrests.
There are several considerations for the Texas criminal defense lawyer in these upcoming representations. Right out of the gate, we know these new laws will not have any judicial analysis. Texas criminal defense lawyers need to be aware that aggressive prosecutors may push past the edge of the envelope in these situations. Appeals will be filed after convictions based upon these statutes.
Secondly, these new laws point to the need for the savvy criminal defense lawyer to understand the nuances of computer technology and how it impacts things like the collection of evidence, the chain of custody in a case, the parameter of a search and seizure, and more. Not only does the defense attorney need to be adept at online evidentiary analysis, but he needs to be ready to educate a judge on failings he discovers when moving for exclusion or dismissal of a case. These new laws force criminal defense lawyers to build expertise in computer technology, software management, hacking, file storage, and more.
The focus of much prosecutorial efforts in human trafficking is going after those matters involving sex crimes. Prostitutionof course, is far from being a new crime. Comments are welcomed here and I will respond to you -- but please, no requests for personal legal advice here and nothing that's promoting your business or product.
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Why Hire Michael Lowe? Serving all of Texas Call us Today. Texas Penal Code Amended to Address Human Sex Trafficking Over the Internet Human trafficking laws exist at both the federal and state levels; anyone arrested on these charges faces serious felony time if convicted. Given the current environment, we can expect police and prosecutors to be anxious to use these new criminal charges in future prosecutions.
First, Definitions Are Provided to Include Computers and the Internet The first change we find in this new legislation is new definitions are added to the Texas Penal Code pertaining to online activities. Both are serious felonies. What is Online Promotion of Prostitution? Defending Against Charges of Online Promotion of Prostitution or Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution Right out of the gate, we know these new laws will not have any judicial analysis. Pearl Street — Suite — DallasTexas All Rights Reserved.
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