REPORT: Prosecuting human traffickers poses significant challenges
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More than 100 child sex trafficking victims were rescued across the U.S. last month in an effort code-named Operation Independence Day that involved sweeps in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Seattle and resulted in 67 arrests.
One such case that won’t be prosecuted is that of former disgraced financier Jefferey Epstein, who authorities said died of suicide in his jail cell on Saturday. Epstein was charged with human trafficking, among other things, by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The article goes on to state the following:
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said that such cases are a priority, sex trafficking crimes are uniquely difficult to prosecute.
According to the report, Hilary Axam, a prosecutor with the Human Trafficking Institute at the Department of Justice, said the difficulty stems from proving the victim was indeed being trafficked against their will.
The Department of Justice explains that the law defines human trafficking as “the act of compelling or coercing a person’s labor, services, or commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, but it must be used to coerce a victim into performing labor, services, or commercial sex acts.”
“You have to prove the victim’s state of mind,” Axam said, adding that doing so is a “heavy burden.”
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