Who is Liable in a Human Trafficking Lawsuit?

February 5, 2021 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Who is Liable in a Human Trafficking Lawsuit?

Liable Parties and Your Human Trafficking Lawsuit

It is estimated that there are 20-40 million human beings in modern slavery today because of human trafficking. Many would like to think that slavery is an antiquated institution that civilization has left behind but the reality is that there are more people in slavery today than ever before.  Human trafficking is one of the largest illegal enterprises on the planet involved in a number of industries ranging from restaurants to brothels. Survivors of human trafficking may be able to seek compensation for the damages they suffered from their time trafficked through filing a lawsuit against various parties in these industries that were somehow involved in their trafficking. 

Liability for Human Trafficking

Human trafficking lawsuits are a form of civil tort that seeks compensation for damages caused by another party's negligence. Human trafficking is a crime and considered a first-degree felony in the state of Florida with minimum sentencing of 21 months in prison with further penalties being as severe as 20 years in prison. Human traffickers may seem like the obvious party to seek compensation from but in many cases, they are not able to provide the compensation that a plaintiff needs. This is usually because they simply do not have the financial means since they are in prison or never had that money in the first place. Instead of suing those directly responsible for human trafficking, survivors wishing to file a lawsuit need to look to third-parties that may have been involved in some way and can be considered liable. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) gives survivors the ability to file civil lawsuits against businesses that “knowingly benefit from their participation in what they knew or should have known was a [sex trafficking venture].”

Businesses Liable for Human Trafficking

There are many businesses that can find themselves involved in human trafficking. Sometimes a business may be directly complicit in human trafficking. They may have a direct hand in the transport, exploitation, or coercion of trafficked people making them not only guilty of the crime but liable as well. This makes things fairly simple but most cases of human trafficking rarely are so clean cut. Most businesses that end up involved in human trafficking will not have any direct ties to the trafficking at all and may simply be a setting that is utilized by traffickers for their operation. Despite this, a business in this position may still be considered liable in a human trafficking lawsuit. This is because they benefited from the human trafficking that occurred on their premises when they should have been aware of such a crime occurring. 

Business Negligence and Human Trafficking Liability

This does not mean that just because a business had human trafficking occur on its premises that it is therefore liable in a lawsuit. It means that they are considered liable if the trafficking occurred on their premises when they should have known. Property owners are not expected to be completely omniscient when it comes to what occurs on their property. If there is no reasonable way they could have known or some way they could have acted then they cannot be held liable. 

Failure to Recognize and Report Human Trafficking

Instead, a human trafficking lawsuit focuses on businesses that were within their power to do something about the trafficking occurring but failed to take action or took improper action. For example, human trafficking comes with a number of red flags that may indicate something illegal is occurring.  Employees may come into contact with trafficking victims that are clearly disheveled, under the influence of drugs, injured, or under another person's control and may fail to take the appropriate action either because they do not want to get involved, they do not care, or they simply lack the training to recognize these red flags. Even the failure to train employees to recognize and report human trafficking can make certain businesses, like those in hospitality, liable in a future human trafficking lawsuit. 

Businesses That Have Been Involved in Human Trafficking Lawsuits

  • Hotels/Motels
  • Airlines
  • Bus Companies
  • Train Companies
  • Resorts
  • Farms/Nurseries
  • Spa's
  • Nail Salons
  • Restaurants
  • Apartment Complexes

Filing a Human Trafficking Lawsuit

Dealing with the damages inflicted by going through human trafficking is enough to exhaust a person's financial and emotional resources. Potentially liable parties like the aforementioned businesses may owe you compensation for the role they played in your trafficking. Filing a human trafficking lawsuit is one of the best ways to ensure you get that compensation but the process can be complicated to say the least.  Your case hinges on your ability to prove that the defendant party is liable for the damages you suffered and your ability to define and connect those damages to the trafficking you experienced. Making your case as well as negotiating settlements, and going through the legal process takes professional experience and resources that only a lawyer specializing in human trafficking lawsuits like those of Dolman Law Group can provide. 

Florida Human Trafficking Lawsuit Attorneys

If you or a loved one are a survivor of human trafficking and believe that certain parties are liable for the damages that you suffered during your ordeal because of negligent actions then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group. Our attorneys are ready to provide a free consultation to hear the details of your case and provide information on what legal options are available to you. Dolman Law Group has been serving the people of Florida case by case for years and ensuring that our clients not only get compensation for the damages that they unjustly suffered but have their case fought for by attorneys that are invested in its success. Dolman Law provides experienced legal representation with the resources one would expect from a large firm while also ensuring your case is handled in a sensitive and professional manner by attorneys that will remain in contact with you every step of the way.  To set up a consultation with Dolman Law Group you can either call our office at (866) 826-1298 or fill out a contact form online Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (866) 826-1298


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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