The most dangerous of all charges brought against former US gymnastics coach John Gedert on Thursday were 20 human trafficking cases.
Charges declared by Michigan Attorney General Shortly before Mr. Gedrat committed suicide, Representing a creative legal strategy for prosecutors, one that experts say can set a precedent for future legal fights include coaches in the high-pressure sports world.
Although many associate human trafficking with those involved with sexual exploitation and trafficking, its true definition is much broader, including exploitation and forced labor. This makes it ripe for exploration in the context of abusive athletic environments.
What is human trafficking?
Under US law, human trafficking is the use of “force, fraud or coercion” to obtain labor or a commercial sex act. According to the Department of Justice.
Definitions of human trafficking and criminal penalties for Different by state, But broadly, trafficking “specializes in child abuse and neglect,” said Kimberly P. Jordan, a clinical professor of law at The Ohio State University.
According to Katherine Robb, executive director of Child USAID, human trafficking can sometimes be divided into overlapping categories: domestic service, forced labor, and sexual trafficking. In Mr. Geddert’s case, his human trafficking charges included 14 counts of forced labor, resulting in injuries and six counts of human labor for forced labor.
Bringing the allegations of human trafficking was a strategic move by prosecutors, with many experts saying it was not difficult to see how the definition could be applied to the actions of abusive coaches who benefit financially from the success of trained athletes .
Young athletes in particular can be vulnerable to manipulation and control when trying to reach certain goals or achieve a certain status, making them susceptible to sexual exploitation and human trafficking, Ms. Robb said. (In addition to trafficking charges, Mr. Geddert was charged with first and second-degree criminal sexual misconduct.)
Referring to the former US national team doctor who abused hundreds of girls and women, Ms. Robb said, “In the case of Larry Nassar, the coach and doctor, these kids have enormous power and control.” “The promise of a gold medal is quite a carrot.”
Experts said that the mere fact of charging Mr. Geddert with human trafficking could have implications for the wider game world.
“It informs coaches and coaches about how they are treating their athletes,” Professor Jordan said.
Is human trafficking similar to human trafficking?
The term “smuggling” may remove images of movement from place to place, but transportation is not an essential component of smuggling, Ms. Robb said.
“It’s a misnomer,” he said. “You do not need to transport someone for smuggling.”
Human trafficking is often confused with human trafficking, which is a separate criminal activity. While smuggling centers on exploitation, smuggling primarily involves the transport of a person or the use of fake documents to gain entry into a country illegally.
What will happen next?
A spokesman for Michigan Attorney General, Danna Nessel, said on Friday that Ms. Nessel’s office was not continuing its investigation into Mr. Gedert.
Professor Jordan said that after a criminal facing criminal charges has died, a criminal trial is too much of a robbery.
However, experts said other legal avenues, such as civil lawsuits against Mr. Geddard’s property, remained open to potential victims.