“Human trafficking” is a term that can include a wide variety of alleged criminal activity, including conduct involving sexual offenses and even forced labor. The term comes with a certain amount of “shock value,” which is probably why law enforcement officials and prosecutors are prone to using it – anyone accused of being involved in human trafficking likely becomes instantly tainted with an image of guilt in the public.
According to recent reports, a firefighter from nearby Hernando County is facing several charges that law enforcement officials say are tied to human trafficking activities. The reports indicate that the suspect, a 38-year-old male, is a lieutenant with the fire rescue department and had been so employed for 14 years. He was arrested on earlier this month. He faces charges of kidnapping, as well as a charge involving “lewd and lascivious behavior” with an individual who is between the ages of 12 and 16.
Needless to say, the impact of these charges on this individual’s life will be substantial. The reports indicate that he has already been suspended from his job without pay. Beyond that, when media reports swirl that a first responder was allegedly involved in a human trafficking scheme, it may be hard for this man to face a jury of his peers who have not become biased by one-sided media reports.
All criminal suspects, regardless of the crime they are being charged with, have the opportunity to craft a criminal defense strategy. In some cases, that means fighting the charges all the way to a jury trial. In others, it may mean engaging in plea negotiations with the prosecution. The specific strategy for any given case will vary, depending on the facts involved and the potential legal options that are available to the suspect.