Human trafficking is a heinous crime, and certainly one of the worst atrocities that people are capable of inflicting on one another. When children are the victims, the cruelty is almost unfathomable. This vulnerable population is one of the most exploited for labor, sex, and organ trafficking. Survivors of child trafficking may not realize it, but there are legal options they can pursue against those who have made money from their ordeal. Such survivors should be protected by the legal process, not intimidated by it. No one should be subjected to the reprehensible practice of trafficking.
We Are Here For You
At the Stoddard Firm, our Atlanta child trafficking attorneys handle trafficking cases in DeKalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and throughout Georgia. Our founder, Matt Stoddard, has been named a “Rising Star” by Georgia Super Lawyers as well as a “Top Attorney in Georgia” by Atlanta Magazine. After gaining years of experience defending corporate interests, Matt chose to put his skills to work helping those who have been harmed by the negligence and misdeeds of others. The Stoddard Firm focuses on empowering the survivors of child trafficking by seeking justice for them and taking economic resources away from those who benefit from trafficking. If you or someone you love has been the victim of human trafficking, we have the knowledge and expertise to successfully pursue your claim. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 678-RESULTS (678-737-8587) or filling out a free case evaluation form.
Trafficking In The U.S. and Georgia
While it may not be something reflected on by the average person, the prevalence of trafficking in this country is growing. It has been concluded that this disgraceful practice has surpassed the illegal gun trade to become the second-largest underground market in the U.S. (the sale of illegal drugs is first). The black market commercial sex economy in Atlanta alone is believed to be worth approximately $290 million a year, with traffickers making an average of $33,000 each week. The demand for humans as a commodity requires a steady supply, putting estimates at 300,000 American children annually being victimized into sex trafficking.
In fact, recent statistics rank Georgia as sixth in the nation for number of sex trafficking cases reported. Many of these victims are children who are taken advantage of and sold, coerced, or forced into servitude. By one estimation, 354 youth are sold monthly in this state for sex. When the approximate number of buyers and of sex acts purchased is figured into the calculation, it becomes clear that each one of those children is subjected to exploitation multiple times each month.
Some runaway or homeless children may become involved in prostitution as the only way to provide for themselves. For example, one national study found that approximately 28 percent of street youth and 10 percent of youth in shelters reported selling sex to generate money for basic needs. However, it doesn’t matter whether a person under age 18 is forced to perform a commercial sex act or appears to do so voluntarily; federal law says that minors are incapable of giving consent to such sexual activity.
Whether for sex, forced labor, or another nefarious purpose, the trafficking of people is such a problem that Georgia has its own task force dedicated to dealing with the issue. Assigned with protecting citizens from exploitation as well as supporting victims on their road to recovery, two of the task force’s eight stated goals are focused solely on children. The appalling reality is that many young people are targeted by traffickers because they are more easily influenced, bring higher profits, and have fewer alternatives than adults. Some are even exploited or sold by their own families.
Trafficking can happen anywhere, including malls, restaurants, schools, and online. Traffickers know how to isolate their victims from society, control their every move, and leave them feeling hopeless. Some trafficking victims fear the legal system and have been manipulated into thinking they are breaking the law or deserve the abuse. In truth, no human should be subjected to trafficking and those that are have legal options.
How Can We Help?
Because trafficking is big business, many defendants have ample resources to reimburse their victims for their horrific actions. For the harm they have endured, human trafficking victims may be entitled to recover:
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Future lost wages and future medical expenses due to physical or psychological impairment
- Compensation for the pain and suffering caused by being trafficked
- Punitive damages (intended to punish the defendant and deter future similar behavior).
Seeking legal redress may be the only way that some victims can get justice. While the main goal is to obtain financial compensation for the wrongs that were perpetrated, a civil lawsuit can offer victims a chance to confront their oppressors. Such encounters do not necessarily have to happen, but many victims find them to be an important step in healing and empowerment. For those who wish to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation, it may be possible to proceed under a pseudonym (a false name). There may also be other defendants in addition to the traffickers themselves, such as those that obtained the victims of trafficking, those that employed child trafficking victims, and those that purchased sexual acts with child trafficking victims. Each case is different, and an experienced lawyer can explain the options based on your circumstances.
We know this is a sensitive issue, but we believe that anyone who makes money from the plight of child trafficking victims should be held accountable. If you have been exploited in the minor trafficking market or have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the lawyers at the Stoddard Firm. Based in Atlanta, our attorneys are trusted advocates for trafficking victims and their families in Fulton County and throughout Georgia. We have the knowledge, experience and resources to successfully pursue trafficking claims. Reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 678-RESULTS (678-737-8587) or fill out a case evaluation form to find out your rights.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have a case?
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you could have a personal injury case. Every situation is different, so there’s no way to know if you have a case without consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. If you are badly injured or a loved one has died, we are happy to speak with you and investigate the matter at no charge.
Do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Many wrongful death and personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. However, it is our experience that the most successful cases are built as if they are going to court. Our firm prepares every case to go all the way to trial, even if it is ultimately resolved before the trial starts.
What do your services cost?
A consultation with the Stoddard Law Firm is free. In most circumstances, we earn no fee unless we win your case. If your claim is successful, we take a percentage of the recovered amount.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.