Top Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Human Smuggling

What is Human Smuggling? Two Woburn men were recently charged with human smuggling. Allegedly the pair, a father and son, Jesse James Moraes, 64, and Hugo Giovanni Moraes, 42, smuggled people from Brazil into Woburn, Massachusetts in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars. They are accused of employing them at two restaurants they own, Tudo Na Brasa and The Dog House, in order to work off the debts they owed.

They were allegedly assisted by Jesse’s brother, Chelbe Willams Moraes, who was also charged. He currently lives in Brazil and allegedly worked to bring groups of people who paid between $18,000 to $22,000 to come to the United States.

One source said that they were smuggled in for a fee of $32,000, half of which was paid upfront, and the other was paid off starting six months after their arrival in payments of $1,400. The migrants were paid $3 per hour, which is well below minimum wage, and they worked from 7am to 9pm at the restaurants. They were given no days off nor allowed any tips. The Moraes men were said to make overt and veiled threats to the migrants of what might happen to them if they didn’t pay off their debts in a timely manner.

Human smuggling is different than human trafficking, but the two overlap. Human smuggling is the act of transporting or supplying fake identification documents, such as visas or supporting asylum claims for people who are seeking residency by their own free will in a different country. Human trafficking is when people are coerced into work or commercial sexual exploitation. It involves profiting off of someone’s forced labor.

At Dhar Law, we can assist you in your case if you have been accused of human smuggling or trafficking. These are both very serious criminal charges. You can face a minimum prison sentence of 5 years and upwards of 25 years. Additionally, you may receive a $25,000 fine. These are complex charges and you will benefit from an experienced and strong defense team. Many times, people accused of human trafficking will also be accused of human smuggling, and vice versa. The lawyers at Dhar Law are here to explain the charges and answer any questions you might have about your case. Please don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible and talk to us about how we can assist you with your case.


Have you or a family member been charged or arrested? It’s important not to make mistakes early on in your case. Download our PDF on the top 3 things to do to help your defense or if you have been arrested by the State Police or FBI or you are the subject of an FBI Arrest Warrant.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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