Human Trafficking in Florida — An Intentional Tort

Human Trafficking in Florida — An Intentional Tort

friends-78214-mA recent story in The Sun Sentinel mentioned the facts in an unusual case, which involved two teenage girls.  According to reports, the girls – both of whom are 15 years old – ran away while on a class trip earlier this month.  After jumping in the car of a stranger at the start of the month, they were missing for ten days, until police responded to a strange call.

In a drug deal gone wrong, a man pulled a gun on the guy who had abducted the two young girls.  In an effort to get away, he backed over and dragged one of those young women.  Police were called and they quickly discovered that the victim, who was rushed to the critical care wing of the local hospital, was one of the girls missing from St. Petersburg.  The hunt was then on.  The man who ran over the first victim was soon found in the possession of the other 15-year-old.  She was taken into protective care and told her story, which involved forced prostitution.

The two girls, who lived so near our Saint Petersburg homes, were forced into the prostitution business by the very same man who was driving the car that they jumped into that day.  While this isn’t exactly a case of human trafficking, because the girls were not sold, their bodies were misused in the same fashion.

The story made headlines again this week, after the second of the two victims disappeared from the care of a facility in Delray Beach.  She was discovered again, and taken into custody just days later.  The facts of the case are still unclear, but what is known is that these girls suffered immensely as a result of trying to run away.  It is also all too evident that kidnapping and the possibility of human trafficking are not reserved to countries overseas.  It is taking place right here, in the United States, far too close to home.

According to the United Nations, there are as many as two million women and children kidnapped and trafficked around the world each year.  That means that as many as 6,000 of these victims are stolen from their homes each and every day.

According to U.S. law, this is a form of intentional tort.  Right now, the first victim remains in critical care, after suffering the impact of the vehicle.  The second is still held by the Department of Children and Families.  The perpetrator was taken into police custody.  He faces charges of aggravated child abuse, lewd behavior, and soliciting a minor.

He may also appear in a second court, should the families of these girls file personal injury cases against him.  According to the courts, this is a form of intentional tort.  The term is used to label cases that meet two requirements:

  1. The victim suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence; and
  2. The negligence was in the form of a purposeful act, which was committed by the defendant.

The girls and their families can seek compensation for medical expenses, continued care, as well as pain and suffering.  Undoubtedly they face a long recovery time – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  A Saint Petersburg personal injury attorney can help them collect the financial compensation needed to ensure that they receive the best possible care throughout that recovery time.