Maryland lawmakers wrestle with human trafficking

Maryland lawmakers wrestle with human trafficking

Jeremy Arias reports for the Gazette that Maryland lawmakers are currently
debating laws against human trafficking, a crime which often involves
sex offense charges. As it turns out, while few lawmakers oppose anti-human trafficking laws,
many lawmakers disagree on how to punish it.

One lawmaker, as Arias reports, has introduced the same bill for the past
three years, a bill that would authorize asset forfeiture in human trafficking
cases. But the bill has been shot down all three years.

Says one lawmaker: “At least according to the criminal defense attorneys
on the committee, [asset forfeiture] doesn’t always work perfectly.
If you’re seizing all the property in the room, and it’s not
just cash, how do you know the house was purchased using ill-gotten gains?”

“There is a process to determine that,” the lawmaker went on
to say, “but again, that is the concern.”

So it’s not so much that lawmakers don’t condone asset forfeiture
in these cases; it’s that how do you know what is okay to take and
what is not okay to take? That gets to the heart of those who find themselves
charged with crimes and then find their property taken away from them
by the government.

Currently, Maryland law allows for asset forfeiture in a limited range
of cases, including those involving drugs.

If you have been arrested, contact a
criminal lawyer in Maryland before you talk to police or anyone else.

Maryland legislators consider 6 anti-human trafficking laws