Trafficking of Persons

“Human trafficking” covers a number of different criminal acts. Generally speaking, trafficking involves one person forcing another person to engage in labor or services for another. Many people commonly associate human trafficking with illegal sexual activities. This is, indeed, part of what Texas’ human trafficking statute covers.

Trafficking Sexual Conduct

The types of conduct associated with illegal sexual activities include the following:

  • Having sex in exchange for money, or offering to perform sex acts for money (prostitution);
  • Receiving money or other compensation from another by having sex, or offering another person to engage in sexual acts for compensation (promotion of prostitution);
  • Knowingly participating in a “prostitution enterprise” by promoting prostitution of two or more people (aggravated promotion of prostitution); or
  • Using threats, force, or fraud to compel another to commit prostitution (compelling prostitution).

If the person being offered for sexual activity is a minor, the list of conduct expands to include sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child, sexual assault, sexual performance by a child, and possession of or promotion of child pornography.


Trafficking Other Labor or Services

Texas law is not limited to sex trafficking. When one person forces or coerces another person to perform any form of labor or service, this can be considered trafficking under the law. Additionally, if a person benefits from a venture that involves forcing another to perform labor or services, they can be guilty of trafficking. Benefitting from the trafficking includes receiving payment for the conduct, but it can also include receiving the services, labor, or sexual activity performed by the trafficked person.

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Trafficking of persons is generally a second-degree felony, but in certain circumstances, is a first-degree felony.

Penal Code Sec. 20A.02

Trafficking of Persons


Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese