False allegations of human trafficking happen too often

Human trafficking is a very real and serious problem in the United States and elsewhere throughout the world. Being accused of this crime, though, is another level of shocking.

If you haven’t taken the time to learn about human trafficking, you should know that it happens when a person is recruited, transferred, harbored or transported through force, abduction, fraud, abuse of power for the purpose of their own exploitation. That exploitation could be sexual, but it may also be for forced labor, the removal of organs or even slavery.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime states that those three main elements have to be met to constitute a trafficking crime (the act, means and purpose). If any of those elements are missing, then the false accusation could cause trouble but should not result in a trafficking charge or conviction.

How common are false allegations of human trafficking?

You may be surprised to know that they happen more often than you would think. Sometimes, people are accused of human trafficking falsely because they:

  • Are traveling with a minor who has a different last name than them
  • Are traveling with foster children
  • Are traveling with minor children that are unrelated to them

Here’s an example. If you go to the airport with your foster son who has a different last name and ethnicity than you, it’s likely that you’ll be stopped and questioned about your relationship. It’s helpful if you have documents to support your relationship, such as photographs or photographs of important phone numbers to call (like an adoption agency) if there are questions.

If you run into trouble and are falsely accused of human trafficking, you need legal support immediately. You will need to defend yourself and work to protect yourself against damage to your reputation.