People tend to have several misconceptions about sex trafficking. One assumption is that sex trafficking is rare in the United States. Unfortunately, this is not true. While the true scope of the problem is unknown and many cases go unreported, largely due to the illegal and secretive nature of the trade, it is known that sex trafficking is well-established in the United States. In Atlanta alone, sex trafficking is an industry that generates nearly $300 million annually.
A sting operation targeting sex trafficking was conducted across the United States in 2017 and resulted in over 1,000 arrests, which included a state trooper, a pastor and a convicted sex offender. The group behind the sting, the National Johns Suppression Initiative, said its operations have led to the arrests of nearly 8,000 sex buyers since 2011, according to CNN. Stories like this are a sobering reminder that sex trafficking is a reality in our country and that victims need protection.
At The Stoddard Firm, we provide legal representation to victims of trafficking to bring civil action against traffickers; the hotels, apartments, and massage parlors where the trafficking occurred; any bank that knowingly accepted / laundered the trafficker’s money; and any classified internet advertising website that solicited the trafficking. Contact our Atlanta sex trafficking lawyers today for a free consultation of your case.
What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is the act of forcing a person through violence, threats, debt, or coercion into commercial sex acts.
It often occurs in illegal settings, such as prostitution rings, but it can also reside in otherwise “legal” operations, such as hotels or parlors. It can also involve third parties that facilitate sex trafficking, such as banks or certain online organizations.
Sex trafficking is essentially a form of slavery, one that involves abuses committed against those who are the most vulnerable. Often, the victims of sex trafficking are minors and immigrants, though people of all ages, genders and other demographics can also be subjected to sex trafficking.
Who are the Victims of Sex Trafficking in the United States?
Some populations are more vulnerable to sex trafficking than others. For example, a 2015 report from the State Department stated that populations more vulnerable to trafficking include:
Children in the welfare and juvenile justice systems
Runaway and homeless youth
Children working in agriculture
American Indians and Alaska Natives
Foreign National domestic workers in diplomatic households
Employees of businesses in ethnic communities
Populations with limited English proficiency
Persons with disabilities
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
In some cases, children or other victims in the United States are taken to foreign countries for sex trafficking. However, many of these cases happen entirely within our borders. The experiences and backgrounds of sex trafficking victims are varied. But the one thing that all victims have in common is the subjugation of their lives under the control of shameful traffickers. In the United States, we have systems in place and several groups willing to offer assistance to those subjected to sex trafficking. The Stoddard Firm is also here to help.
Representing the Interests of Sex Trafficking Victims in Georgia
While safe-harbor laws are designed to protect victims of sex trafficking, too many victims feel too intimidated by traffickers to come forward and seek justice. They have often been subjected to unspeakable physical and emotional abuses. Victims might fear retaliation from their abusers and, in some cases, fear being treated unfairly by authorities.
We are proud to stand up for the rights of our clients and do everything within our abilities to protect them from further suffering and intimidation. For example, we use the initials of clients’ names when possible, to avoid disclosure of their full names. We also put our connections and resources to work for immigrant victims to apply to stay in the country legally through special visa programs.
Atlanta Sex Trafficking Lawyers
Our knowledge and experience in this area of the law provides us with the unique opportunity to assist victims of sex trafficking to seek compensation and find protection from traffickers. We understand that victims might be hesitant to come forward about the abuses they have suffered, but we encourage anyone who has been victimized by the abhorrent illegal sex trade in Georgia to reach out to the Stoddard Firm.
Even if you come to us seeking information and are unsure about taking legal action, we offer free consultations so you can better understand your options. Regardless of what legal action you are considering, you should remember that it never hurts to have additional information. To speak to one of our attorneys, reach out to the Stoddard Firm today.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
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A year and a half ago, a Cherokee County police officer performed a traffic stop on a vehicle containing a man in his late 30s and an underage girl. The girl seized the opportunity and told the officer that the man, Mark Thomas, had been sex trafficking her for the past three months, starting when she was 15 years old.
The investigation that followed resulted in six arrests and, so far, five...