If you or a family member have been a victim of sex trafficking in Pennsylvania, you may have a potential civil cause of action against the participants for damages. To speak to a McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt personal injury attorney about a potential lawsuit, call 1-800-590-4116 for a free consultation.
In 2014, Pennsylvania adopted Act 105 to revise the PA civil and criminal code against human trafficking. The law allows for criminal felony charges against individuals involved in human trafficking and increased penalties when the victim is a minor. The law also added a civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking and the sex trade against participating persons.
Under the law, a victim of human trafficking can bring a lawsuit against any person that participated in the human trafficking. A victim of the sex trade may bring a civil action against a person that (1) recruits, profits from or maintains the victim of any sex trade act; (2) abuses or causes bodily harm to the victim; and (3) knowingly advertises or publishes advertisements for purposes of recruitment into sex trade activity.
It is believed that motels and hotels across the country, including Pennsylvania, facilitate sex trafficking. The PA law allows a civil action against such a proprietor if, among other things, they knowingly provide their goods and services to a person liable to the victim of the sex trade.
The law defines a victim of the sex trade as an individual who has (1) been the object of a solicitation for prostitution; (2) been the object of a transaction in a sex act; (3) been intended or compelled to engage in an act of prostitution; (4) been intended or compelled to engage in a sex act; (5) been described or depicted in material that advertises an intent or compulsion to engage in sex acts; or (6) in the case of obscenity or child pornography, has appeared in or been described or depicted in the offending conduct or material.
The law allows the court to award a variety of relief, including actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief and other appropriate relief. If the defendant’s acts were willful and malicious, treble damages are required. It further allows an award to a prevailing plaintiff of reasonable attorney fees and costs.
To speak to a McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt personal injury attorney about a potential lawsuit on behalf of a victim of human trafficking or the sex trade, call 1-800-590-4116 for a free consultation.