18 U.S.C. § 1596


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Corporate criminal liability Criminal liability Forced labour Human trafficking Slavery

This section establishes extra-territorial jurisdiction over trafficking, forced labour and slavery offences, where either (1) the alleged offender is a US national or permanent resident, or (2) where the alleged offender is present in the United States irrespective of the nationality of the alleged offender.


This quite broad extra-territoriality provision allows for the civil or criminal liability of any natural or legal person located in the United States, for trafficking, forced labour and slavery offences occurring anywhere in the world.  This means that a US-based company that engages in severe labour exploitation in its operations in other countries could still be prosecuted or sued for damages in US courts for this conduct.

This section was introduced by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

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Section 1596. Additional jurisdiction in certain trafficking offenses –

(a) In General – In addition to any domestic or extra-territorial jurisdiction otherwise provided by law, the courts of the United States have extra-territorial jurisdiction over any offense (or any attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense) under section 1581, 1583, 1584, 1589, 1590, or 1591 if—

(1) an alleged offender is a national of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as those terms are defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101)); or

(2) an alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the alleged offender.

(b)Limitation on Prosecutions of Offenses Prosecuted in Other Countries.— No prosecution may be commenced against a person under this section if a foreign government, in accordance with jurisdiction recognized by the United States, has prosecuted or is prosecuting such person for the conduct constituting such offense, except upon the approval of the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General (or a person acting in either such capacity), which function of approval may not be delegated.

Law /United States / Trafficking Victims Protection Act and its Reauthorizations

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and its Reauthorisations implement an extensive range of measures designed to combat human trafficking, forced labour and slavery, and to protect the rights of victims. The measures include: the criminalisation of ‘sex trafficking’ and trafficking for the purpose of forced labour; the provision of ‘T visas’ to some victims of trafficking and their families; provision for restitution and civil remedies for victims; and the creation of the ‘Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons’ which monitors and evaluates the efforts of the U.S. and other countries in preventing and prosecuting human trafficking and protecting victims.