Victims of sexual assault and human trafficking may be able to bring both criminal and civil claims against their aggressors. Though the charges may be similar, the remedies provided by the civil and criminal systems are quite different. Criminal charges may result in fines and imprisonment, whereas civil claims seek compensation for the injuries the victims have suffered.
Sex trafficking is a crime at both the state and federal level. According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking “involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Other than being forced to perform sexual acts, human trafficking may also involve being forced to work as a maid or nanny.
Texas is especially susceptible to human trafficking because it is so close to the U.S./Mexico border.
There are remedies available to victims of sex trafficking through the Texas civil court system. Claims may be brought against:
- Hotels and other properties where the victim was forced to perform sexual acts or other work
- Websites that encouraged or facilitated trafficking
- Any other individual involved with trafficking efforts
Victims may be able to file claims for violations of trafficking laws, labor and employment laws, contract laws, and other civil laws.
Though bringing claims against these individuals and entities may prove challenging, with the assistance of an experienced Texas human trafficking attorney, the victim has a much better chance of prevailing in these claims.
Sexual Assault Claims
Victims of sexual assault also have civil remedies available to them under Texas law. These civil remedies may compensate victims for the expenses they face after being sexually assaulted. One source claims that sexual assault costs the United States around $450 billion every year.
Sexual assault victims may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills, therapy expenses, lost wages, and even property damage. In addition, unlike criminal claims, civil claims may provide compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention immediately to document their injuries. Physical evidence may be harder to recover or detect if the victim waits too long to go to a hospital or urgent care center. Generally, evidence is recoverable up to 96 hours after an assault.
The effects of sexual assault last for years and often never truly go away for victims. However, with the assistance of an experienced attorney, the best case possible will be presented to hold the aggressor accountable.
Do I Have to Go to Court for a Human Trafficking or Sexual Assault Claim?
Many victims of human trafficking and sexual assault are hesitant to come forward because they are scared of going to court and speaking publicly about what they have endured. They fear retaliation from their aggressors and judgment from the community.
The good news is many civil claims never make it to trial—they often settle long before that point. The parties file the initial paperwork to start the claim, and then they exchange evidence for many months after that. This process is called discovery.
In many cases, the aggressor or other entities involved in the case (like hotel chains or websites) want to preserve their privacy and agree to settle the claim. Settlements are private and confidential.
If the case must go to trial, your attorney will ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for your day in court. You will go over your testimony and what to expect throughout the trial.
The Dallas, Texas Attorneys at Brooker Law, PLLC Fight for Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse
At Brooker Law, PLLC, our attorneys understand that filing a claim for sexual assault or human trafficking is traumatic and frightening. Our attorneys handle the legal aspects of the claim so that our clients can focus on healing and recovering. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, contact or call (214) 217-0277 today.