Unfortunately, Chicago has acquired a reputation for child trafficking and is one of the crisis points recognized in the national strategy. Some of the people involved are supposed to be intimate partners who end up turning on the victims and forcing them to engage in indecent employment for little or no compensation. The practice is sometimes fueled by an illicit drug and sex work industry. Grooming is a very important step in getting someone to give up his or her rights, and that is where children are particularly vulnerable. They lack a sense of judgement and the perpetrators tend to look for those who are on the margins of society. Runaway kids are especially susceptible to this type of crime and the social service agencies in Chicago have attempted to do some preventative work.
In previous times, the law was insensitive to the fact that the victims may be engaging in illegal activity through no fault or volition of their own. That is why it was important to focus instead on the pimps who stand on the wayside in order to capture the illegally-acquired largesse from the trade. There are instances in which the victim is offered support whilst the perpetrator faces the full weight of a criminal prosecution. The reality is that many victims are so traumatized and frightened that they end up not raising a complaint in situations in which their cooperation is of the utmost importance.
A Comprehensive Strategy
The law cannot completely eliminate or control child trafficking unless it addresses the conditions that make the crime possible. Otherwise we are back to square one of running a revolving door policy of getting children off the streets, only to encounter them later in the criminal justice system when they have committed serious offenses. The age of consent is a critical consideration when determining criminal responsibility. A minor cannot consent to being exploited and it is not an acceptable defense in Chicago law. Plying them with drugs and alcohol prior to the exploitation is an aggravating rather than mitigating feature of the case.
The fact that the perpetrator may be in a position of trust, makes the court less likely to look at his or her actions with lenience. As always, the underlying premise of the law is to protect the victim. Some of the sentences that are handed down are severe enough to act as deterrents to those who may be considering a career in child trafficking. Where there are ingredients of a transnational conspiracy, it may be possible for the federal agencies to get involved. Victims may call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center or NHTRC hotline in order to report a case, but there are also state-based alternatives that they can turn to.
Intersection with Immigration Laws
One of the key concerns for the federal administration at the moment is the possibility that illegal immigrants are trafficked so as to involve them in an illicit sex trade. Where young children are involved, the matter takes on a particularly disturbing color. Local law enforcement agencies in Chicago have protocols for sharing information and reporting critical incidents to the federal authorities for further action.
Indeed, the deportation priorities include those that have engaged in child trafficking before. Chicago cannot write its own immigration policies, but some other cities have worked to prevent the deportation of certain people who may be vulnerable even if they fall under the federal agencies’ deportation priorities. Nevertheless, it is important for the attorney to be aware of the ramifications of the prosecution in terms of the wider immigration rules in the USA. They should also bear in mind the wider philosophical issues that underpin the law on child trafficking. If you need an excellent lawyer for dealing with such a case, call David Freidberg Attorney at Law at 312-567-7100 today.
(image courtesy of Dmitry Ratushny)