Personal Injury Claims for Victims of Human Trafficking

It is estimated that there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. There are no official estimates of the number of trafficking victims in the U.S. However, it is estimated that the number runs into the hundreds of thousands. In short, it is an epidemic that is growing in numbers and severity.

Sex and Labor Human Trafficking

It is often assumed when the term human trafficking is used that it refers to sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is clearly a huge and growing problem. However, human trafficking for exploitation of labor is an even bigger problem. It is estimated that over 80% of victims of human trafficking are trapped in forced labor.

Sex trafficking occurs in a variety of settings including escort services, residential brothels, massage parlors, strip clubs and the like. Labor trafficking occurs a variety of situations as well. The most common situations involve domestic services and farm labor.

Personal Injury Claims for Human Trafficking

There are a variety of tort claims/personal injury claims available to victims of human trafficking. There are state and federal laws providing for civil remedies for human trafficking. “Civil remedies” simply means that a human trafficking victim can sue for personal injuries. The question then arises, what are the civil remedies?

These civil remedies (personal injury claims) include but are not limited to the following claims:

1. Assault and battery,
2. False imprisonment,
3. Intentional infliction of emotional distress,
4. Loss of income,
5. Medical costs relating to medical, psychiatric, or psychological care;
6. Physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation;
7. Necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child care expenses;
8. Attorneys’ fees and costs associated with bringing a personal injury claims,
9. Any other losses suffered by the victim as a proximate result of the offense.

Who to Sue?

There are numerous individuals and entities that would be appropriate defendants. Sadly, the individual or individuals excluded from the list of defendants would be the actual perpetrators of the human trafficking. Why is this? It would be difficult if not impossible to recover any significant compensation from the actual traffickers for a number of reasons. First, they likely would be extremely difficult to locate. Second and related to the first, it would likewise difficult to serve the complaint/lawsuit on the traffickers. Third and perhaps most importantly, it is unlikely that the traffickers would have assets or money against which a judgment could be enforced.
There is a big distinction between the purveyors of human trafficking and those that benefit from it. Those who benefit are technically guilty of human trafficking themselves and therefore are responsible for any harm done to the victims. Both federal and state law allow claims against the perpetrator and whomever knowingly benefitted from the trafficking.
Here’s a quick list of those who knowingly benefitted from the trafficking:

1. Employers utilizing the labor of human trafficking victims,
2. Anyone utilizing the sexual services forced upon trafficking victims,
3. Landlords, property owners, property management firms involved in the property on which human trafficking takes place.

A little imagination illustrates this could be a long list of defendants.

Get Help if You or a Loved One is a Victim of Human Trafficking

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline (888) 373-7888
  • Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733.