The penalty: Fines and up to 20 years in prison for labor trafficking. The trafficker also faces fines and up to 5 years prison time for unlawful conduct with respect to documents in the furtherance of trafficking.
The violations in the situation include:
- transport of persons into involuntary servitude
- the trafficker possesses passports with no intention of giving them back
- threats of harm or the potential to "never see family again"
Anyone holding a person in involuntary servitude or force labor is looking at paying fines and restitution. Furthermore, the trafficker will also be subject to fines and jail time for withholding the victims’ passports thereby preventing them from traveling freely. They are essentially being confined to a “walking” prison!
18 U.S.C. §§ 1584 (Involuntary Servitude) 18 U.S.C. §§ 1589 (Forced Labor) 18 U.S.C. §§ 1590 (Trafficking with Respect to Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor)
Preying on the Vulnerable It may be difficult to believe that human trafficking occurs more often than we think, right here in the U.S. The reality is that it does. This case is a clear example of that reality, specifically of labor trafficking where the victims are subjected to compulsory labor within a “climate of fear.” Traffickers find it easy to exploit the vulnerabilities of their victims. In this case, they most likely preyed upon and targeted the victims based on their immediate needs. These needs could include such things as an opportunity for a better quality of life through economic stability, food stability, safety, and a quality education.