Human trafficking is on the rise around the country, and Nebraska is no exception. Since 2012, there have been 205 reported cases of human trafficking with the peak happening in 2017—with 63 cases. The general term of human trafficking can be split into two distinct categories, labor trafficking and sex trafficking. While they hold different definitions, they generally carry the same degree of punishment.
What are they?
Both names are clear about the topic they pertain to, but the law varies based on the topic and whether a minor is involved.
According to Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-830, labor trafficking occurs when a person:
“knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining by any means or attempting to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain by any means a person eighteen years of age or older intending or knowing that the person will be subjected to forced labor or services”
Notice that this definition states that the victim is over the age of 18. Labor trafficking of a minor has the same definition as above, with the age being less than 18. Since the definitions are different and a minor is involved, the penalties are more severe.
Labor trafficking is classified as a Class II felony, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 1 year in prison, with a maximum of 50 years imprisonment. Labor trafficking of a minor is a more serious offense and is therefore classified as a Class IB felony, which carries a penalty of a mandatory minimum of 20 years imprisonment with a maximum of 50 years imprisonment.
Additionally, any individual who has knowingly benefitted or participated (beside the victim) in the trafficking or knowingly played a role in the trafficking is guilty of a Class IIA felony. A Class IIA felony is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. Claiming that the minor gave consent, was believed to have given consent, or was believed to be an adult will not be considered a defense against prosecution.
The Nebraska State Legislature uses different language and verbiage when discussing sex trafficking because, as the name suggests, it consists of a sexual act. According to Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-830, this term is defined as knowingly:
“recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, or obtaining by any means or knowingly attempting to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, solicit, or obtain by any means a person eighteen years of age or older for the purpose of having such person engage without consent, as defined in section 28-318, in commercial sexual activity, sexually explicit performance, or the production of pornography or to cause or attempt to cause a person eighteen years of age or older to engage without consent, as defined in section 28-318, in commercial sexual activity, sexually explicit performance, or the production of pornography”
Similar to the labor trafficking definition, a separate charge is given for sex trafficking of a minor. The definition is the same with the minor change of replacing 18+ years old with minor.
Additionally, the two versions carry different charges; however, they are the same charges of their labor trafficking counter parts. Sex trafficking is a Class II felony and sex trafficking of a minor is considered a Class IB felony. The charges of participating or benefitting from sex trafficking are the same as for labor trafficking as well. And, the defenses of consent or belief that they were not a minor are also not valid in a sex trafficking case.
Berry Law's Criminal Defense Attorneys
In the case of human trafficking, it falls on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly participated and attempted to further the trafficking. If you have been falsely accused of a trafficking, our team of defense lawyers has experience fighting criminal charges and may be able to assist you. Contact our team at 402-466-8444 today to schedule a confidential consultation.