Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. Human traffickers recruit or kidnap their victims whom may be children, women or even men from around the world and force them into “sex work” or “forced labor”. This heinous crime is as lucrative as it is cruel.
Traffickers control their victims through:
- Threats or violence against the family of the victims in their country of origin
- Threats or violence against victims
- Taking away the passport, identification and money from the victims
- Locking them up
- Using the social or economic status of victims to attract and control them
Who qualifies for a T visa?
A person who meets each of the following general criteria may be eligible for a T visa:
- Survivor of “severe trafficking” (use of force, fraud or coercion for sex trafficking, forced abuse or prostitution, involuntary servitude, or slavery)
- A survivor that is physically present in the United States because of trafficking
- Anyone who has complied with any reasonable request from federal, state, or local law enforcement to assist in the investigation or prosecution of such traffic
- A person who would suffer extreme hardships involving severe and unusual damage upon removal.
Requirements to prove that you have been a victim and qualify for the T Visa:
- Serious physical or mental illness of the Applicant that requires medical or psychological attention that is not reasonably available in the foreign country
- The nature and extent of the physical and psychological consequences
- The likelihood that the trafficker or another person acting on behalf of the trafficker in a foreign country to which the Applicant may be removed would severely harm the Applicant
- In addition, if a person came to the United States escaping from any form of persecution that would otherwise qualify the applicant as ‘asylee’
- Evidence that he or she made a reasonable effort to report a crime to the police and complied with reasonable requests for police investigation (if any). There are exceptions to this rule based on age and mental and physical competence. It is best to speak with an experienced immigration attorney.
Within the corresponding processing time, a T Visa applicant can obtain permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship.
- If you can, call the police at 911
- If you can, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or you can send a text message to 233733, which corresponds to the letters BeFree on your phone.
- Seek help from a non-profit organization such as:
- Consult with an experienced immigration attorney about how your case meets these requirements. Specific factors such as the age of the victim, the place where the crime was perpetrated, the level of trauma and other available evidence such as medical or police records are key to obtaining a favorable response in these cases.