Monthly Archives: August 2016

Human Trafficking Crime

download-13However, there are some means of enslaving others still occurring that are often even more brutal than the original circumstances. Human trafficking has been an issue in various locations around the world. Even in cities thought to be safe, these crimes have been arising in secret. Since law enforcement has been cracking down on these actions, the fact of human trafficking has come to light for those unaware that a form of slavery is still in existence.

As each year passes, thousands of individuals and groups are forcibly or through devious means taken and forced into various types of labor. The issue affects the entire world, as tourist cities, business locations, remote places and residential areas alike are targeted. Though men are abducted for hard labor, this growing concern mainly involves women and children. They are in many situations forced into working for nothing, sexual situations and various forms of relationships. Some children are kidnapped to be sold for their purity or innocence. In these cases, the victim is often harmed before he or she may be liberated.

Human Trafficking Explained

The illegal abduction of a person for the use in trade involving sexual slavery, reproductive means and any type of forced labor has been deemed human trafficking. It is what used to be traditional slavery. The crime has evolved since its inception due to societal opinions and changes in morals. This violation of the law is an intentional offense with a large industry, and it produces great quantities of money for those overseeing the operations. Women and children are usually taken, kidnapped, deceived in some way or forced to go with their captor. They are subjected to involuntary servitude for some type of business. In some instances, organs are harvested from these individuals that may be vital and sold on the black market.

Profits from Human Trafficking

The industry of human trafficking is highly profitable with large quantities of money coming in from free labor. It has been the fastest growing industry in the criminal world for many years. Since 2004, revenue from this crime has exceeded $9 billion yearly. Due to the nature of this crime, law enforcement has found it difficult to find anyone to arrest. The crossing of borders with these criminals has caused the issue to become an international governmental problem that requires cooperation and communication to resolve. The United Nations explained that since 2008, over 2.5 million individuals from over 120 countries were taken and transported to over 130 countries around the world. These victims are usually abducted and then purchased and sold like someone’s property. The person taken cannot leave where he or she is moved to after being purchased with all the power in the hands of the owner.

Many of these individuals become prostitutes, manual laborers, brides, experiments and many other forced types of workers. The greatest number of smuggled and kidnapped persons are women of younger ages and children. Both may be used for sexual trade or as workers in the sex industry for a variety of clientele. In doing this type of work, these victims are usually drugged to both put up little resistance as well as to become dependent upon their captors. To reinforce who it is in charge, these sufferers may have little to no food, be chained up, may be confined in living quarters and beaten to the point of serious injury. Because living conditions are usually inhumane, numerous taken individuals do not survive to see freedom.

Federal Crime of Human Trafficking

The charges of trafficking women or children to other locations is a serious offense that must be taken seriously. Other agencies such as the International Labor Organization and the United Nations may be involved in these claims if the person abducted crossed the borders of the United States into another area.

This crime of abducting someone and forcing them to perform in some way is a serious federal crime due to the crossing of state and country boundaries. These are considered crimes against humanity with potential years behind bars when a conviction occurs. If for any reason, a person has come under investigation for this crime for any reason, a criminal defense lawyer should be contacted to fight for the innocence of the defendant. As a federal crime, the case may fail without experienced legal representation.

Aggravated Kidnapping

Most instances of this crime have no aggravating factors. Penalties are issued based on these usual kidnapping instances. However, there are specific guidelines followed to determine if the criminal actions are considered aggravated based on some criteria. It is often these aggravating factors that cause a person to find himself or herself behind bars for a lengthy period of time. Additionally, compensation may have to be made to the family of the victim or the person abducted.

Aggravated Kidnapping Explained

When a simple kidnapping charge is elevated to aggravated, this usually means there were additional factors present for the crime to become worse in the eyes of the law. To become aggravated, the kidnapping often must have some kind of violence, injuries to the victim, ransom demands and similar issues attached to the crime. Dangerous weapons are often involved with aggravated criminal actions with the intention of harming or intimidating the person taken. Additional charges may be issued based on various elements of the crime, but these are usually saved for injuries, death and dismemberment of the target person. If multiple persons are taken, each person is counted as one charge each. Penalties are usually much harsher when more than one person has been abducted.

Elements of Aggravated Kidnapping

Some elements alter simple kidnapping charges to aggravated based on the actions the perpetrator took while confining the victim. If the person was forcibly seized, the charges often move up to the harsher crimes. When the person kidnapped is moved from one area to another, this has been considered grounds for aggravated kidnapping, as the abductor does not need to remove the person to kidnap him or her. Another element includes the intention of using force on the victim. This could be used on the victim or on someone else to ensure something of value has been given from him or her. Force may be used on the victim or someone he or she knows to ensure the target person provides the item or objects of value.

History of Kidnapping

Originally, this crime was considered to be one where the perpetrator used force to abduct someone with the action of removing him or her from their initial location to another one. Since the beginning definition of this crime, it has been modified to include when force is used to abduct a person or to confine him or her against his or her will. The crime is basically the same in each state with mild variations based on specific factors, but state laws have different definitions of what constitutes kidnapping as well as accompanying penalties applied through conviction.

Criminal Implications Amended

Tax Evasion

Tax evasion is a crime that is committed when someone lies on their tax return or fails to file a tax return in order to avoid paying the taxes that he or she rightfully owes. The crime is complete when the tax return is filed, even if there is still time to amend it.

However, there are two general exceptions to the rule that the crime is complete once filed. The first exception is if the person filed the return before the normal due date. In order to avoid potential criminal culpability, the individual can file an amended return by the normal due date that does not contain fraudulent information. Another exception is if the superseding return removes the fraud because of an extension period that applies. In most cases in which a fraud charge is a possibility, these exceptions do not apply.

Different Approaches

Due to the exceptions most likely not applying, there are different approaches that people may take in this situation. Practitioners may advise against filing an amended return since doing so can basically prove the government’s case. Key elements of tax evasion include tax due and owed. By admitting to this crime by filing an amended return, the filing itself may be used as evidence against the criminal defendant.

One approach is to amend the tax return. This school of thought is premised on the possibility that an exception may exist through the voluntary disclosure program. This is a policy-based program that promises a taxpayer will not be prosecuted if he or she voluntarily discloses to the IRS his or her misconduct. This program encourages individuals to be honest with the system and seeks to receive the monies due to it. Without this type of program, the government would likely lose revenue since taxpayers would have no incentive to come forward and admit their misdeeds.

This train of thought is also supported by the idea that the government would be less likely to be able to prove its case. It is difficult to show that the defendant acted in a willful manner if the defendant later tried to correct a mistake.

Jury Determination

It is often up to the jury to determine whether the defendant acted in a willful manner. A jury may rule in favor of the notion that the defendant acted in a negligent manner rather than a willful manner if the defendant came forward to correct his or her return before being audited by the IRS. Even if the jury may believe that the defendant did act in a willful manner, it may still feel more compassion for a defendant that tried to do the right thing, even if it was late. While this second determination does not change the legal elements of the crime, the jury may still acquit based on jury nullification.

Qualifying for the Voluntary Disclosure Program

Before a defendant agrees to come forward about misinformation in a previous filing, he or she should know whether or not the defendant is eligible for the program. The first consideration is whether the report is made in a timely manner. The relevant point in time is whether the taxpayer informed the IRS of the information before the IRS gave notice of its intent to audit the taxpayer.

Another consideration is based on whether the defendant cooperated with authorities. This typically means that the taxpayer has made a good-faith effort to pay delinquent taxes, penalties and all interest. Even if these considerations weigh in favor of the defendant, he or she should be made aware that there are no guarantees because the voluntary disclosure policy is merely a policy and not an official law. There is no guarantee that there will be no prosecution. The IRS may find some fact or circumstance particularly compelling to refer the case to the Department of Justice, such as the notorious nature of the crime, the defendant being a public official or publicity surrounding the case.

Charge of Kidnapping

Sometimes the person kidnapped is held captive in some secluded area. Most instances of this crime involve the use of force or violence at some point. Though many cases of this act are for collecting monetary payouts through ransom demands, some are committed for various other purposes. A few persons that commit this crime do so because they have a particular need that they are seeking to satisfy. This may be for companionship such as a person who wants a child but cannot have one, or this could be to commit additional crimes such as rape or murder. Unfortunately, not all kidnapped individuals are returned to their families and friends.

Kidnapping is considered a serious crime that has corresponding harsh penalties when a conviction occurs through the legal system. When someone is accused, he or she may have a difficult case to prove innocence. However, the prosecution may also have the same difficulty if the defending party has little evidence against it. The lack of the victim being present is what usually causes the most issues with proving guilt in claims of kidnapping. However, when the victim has been recovered, he or she may be the foundation these court trials are built upon once the person provides testimony. It is often this testimony that convicts the person accused.

Differing Charges for Different Cases

Because each individual kidnapped is different, charges and cases are often not similar to others that have come before them. Some may be determined to be misdemeanors while others are classified as felonies. There are various forms of kidnapping that may cause additional or completely different charges to be issued to the accused. A person may be forced to become part of a relationship with the kidnapper, do certain tasks, fulfill a sexual role or be required to perform many other instances of forced behavior and actions. No matter what the circumstances contain, most of these cases have harsh penalties with criminal charges issued to the perpetrator.

Some states have different charges added to the original kidnapping charge when applying certain factors. Some of these may include the administering of force or fraud. Fraud may be used as a charge when the person has been concealed or held against consent in the state the charges are issued or outside of this specific state. These are often applied in various states due to the restriction of freedom to the individual abducted. The person taken has no wish to remain with the captor, and he or she is unable to leave of his or her own free will. The limitations of leaving may involve restraints in handcuffs, rope, chain or the threat of injury. When the person does attempt to flee, the abductor may apply violent actions against him or her.

Restriction of Freedom

Violating a person’s rights of freedom is a direct offense against the law. This includes the limiting of a person from being able to leave an area. The original act of taking a person from his or her original location and transporting him or her to another may cause one charge while taking the individual out of the state may lead to harsher sentencing and potentially additional charges. Most individuals who are issued charges for kidnapping face felony cases that are often issued sentences of up to 30 years in prison. Any other penalties may be in addition to these to include fines, programs, reparations to the family of the victim and other punishments. After the convicted person has finished with prison terms, he or she might have a period of probation that restricts his or her traveling for a period of time the judge usually decides.

DNA Advances in Kidnapping Cases

Technological advances in DNA and forensics have pushed prosecution of criminals into the future. Some older cases have gone through these updated processes that allow for the arresting of some individuals for crimes that were committed many years ago. DNA evidence has been and may be used in the future to find perpetrators of crimes for various instances of numerous cases. In particular, kidnapping cases frequently have DNA on or in the victim or on restraints or other materials. If the person is in the criminal database, finding him or her is much easier than when he or she is not.

However, these procedures are not always accurate. When charges of kidnapping arise, it is best to obtain a criminal defense lawyer for assistance in proving innocence.