Human Trafficking Litigation

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Sbaiti & Company is committed to fighting the evil people in the world who seek to pray upon others’ vulnerabilities.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes, estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global industry. The International Labor Organization estimates that around 40 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, with possibly hundreds of thousands in the United States alone. Beyond individual crimes, various industries such as hotels, airlines, truck stops, and websites generate millions of dollars in profits each year by facilitating modern-day slavery.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery or trafficking in persons, involves exploiting individuals through force, coercion, or fraud to compel them into labor or sex work. This exploitation includes various forms of forced labor such as domestic work, sweatshop factories, construction, and restaurant and hotel work, as well as sexual exploitation and forced marriages. Human trafficking can affect individuals of any age, race, gender, or socio-economic status and can happen anywhere.

Forms of Human Trafficking

There are two primary forms of human trafficking: forced labor and sex trafficking. Both the United States’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (“TVPA”)—which has since been bolstered and reauthorized eight times—and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (“UN TIP Protocol”), contain similar definitions of human trafficking. Both definitions focus on the trafficker’s acts, means, and purpose, all three of which are essential to constitute human trafficking.

Elements of Forced Labor
  1. Acts: Recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or services.
  2. Means: Using force, fraud, or coercion, including threats, debt manipulation, withholding of pay, confiscation of identity documents, psychological coercion, reputational harm, manipulation of addictive substances, threats to others, or other forms of coercion.
  3. Purpose: Exploiting a person’s labor or services in any sector or setting, legal or illicit, including agricultural fields, factories, restaurants, hotels, massage parlors, retail stores, fishing vessels, mines, private homes, or drug trafficking operations.
Examples of Forced Labor
  • Domestic Servitude: Victims perform work in private residences, often isolated and under the control of their employer.
  • Forced Child Labor: Traffickers compel children to work through force or coercion, often targeting vulnerable children.
Elements of Sex Trafficking
  • Acts: Recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting another person for commercial sex.
  • Means: Using force, fraud, or coercion, including threats of serious harm, psychological harm, reputational harm, threats to others, and debt manipulation.
  • Purpose: Commercial sex act, defined as any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person, which can occur in various locations like private homes, massage parlors, hotels, brothels, or on the internet.
Child Sex Trafficking

Commercial sex acts with victims under 18 are always illegal and constitute sex trafficking in the United States and most countries, regardless of whether evidence of force, fraud, or coercion exists.

Human Trafficking and Commercial Businesses

In addition to individuals, various businesses like hotels, airlines, truck stops, and websites profit significantly from modern-day slavery. Trafficking is a highly lucrative industry that businesses can indirectly benefit from.

To profit from trafficking, perpetrators rely on businesses to transport, hide, and accommodate the victims, with hotels and motels often being used for sexual exploitation. Since 2008, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) has allowed trafficking victims to hold businesses accountable and recover damages through civil claims. It strengthened federal trafficking laws and granted victims the right to bring civil cases against any entities or individuals that knowingly profit from trafficking activities. It also provided new tools and resources to support eliminating modern forms of slavery domestically and internationally.

The American hotel industry’s indifference to human trafficking has allowed human trafficking to thrive. The vast majority of commercial sex trafficking transactions occur within the hospitality industry. A 2018 survey by the Polaris Project found that 60% of survivors who contacted the National Human Trafficking Hotline were forced into commercial sex in hotels or motels, and 75% had stayed in them during their trafficking.

The TVPRA requires hotels to avoid involvement in trafficking and establishes a duty of care to detect and prevent it. It also required the establishment of policies to combat human trafficking and comply with the TVPRA.

Why Sbaiti & Company

Sbaiti & Company, a boutique law firm with offices in Texas and New Jersey, focuses on significant mass tort litigation and appeals. Our team comprises seasoned lawyers who have previously practiced at larger firms but now prefer the agility and personalized service that a boutique environment offers. Based in Dallas, our reach extends nationally and internationally, allowing us to serve clients effectively wherever they may be.

Clients choose Sbaiti & Company because of our track record of success and dedication to delivering tailored legal strategies. With experience representing plaintiffs across various legal areas, we offer a comprehensive understanding of complex litigation dynamics. Whether stepping in to resolve contentious matters, navigating trials, or handling post-trial appeals, our team is committed to achieving favorable outcomes for our clients. We prioritize clear communication, rapid responses to client concerns, and meticulous research and analysis, ensuring that our legal counsel is informed, strategic, and aligned with our clients’ objectives.

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Mazin A. Sbaiti

Founding Partner

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Asim M. Badaruzzaman

Partner

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Brad J. Robinson

Managing Partner

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Kevin N. Colquitt

Managing Partner

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