Sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines labor trafficking as: “The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.” According to the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2010, 12.3 million adults and children are suffering in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world. For this reason, Congress passed The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (VAWA 2000) creating new forms of immigration relief for victims of sexual assault or trafficking.
Such victims have the opportunity under the law to apply for T visas to gain entry, if not physically present here, and/or residency into the United States. A noncitizen may be eligible for a T visa if she:
- Is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons;
- Is physically present in the United States on account of trafficking;
- Assists law-enforcement officials in the investigation or prosecution of the traffickers (victims under 18 years of age are exempted from this requirement); and
- Can demonstrate that she will suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States.
T Visas last for four years. The holder of the visa must stay in the country continuously during that period. The law requires the holder be a person of moral character. Generally this means that she must not be charged or at least convicted of certain offenses which would indicate moral turpitude. As like with holders of U Visas, the holder of a T Visa can qualify for a cancellation of removal to avoid deportation during the 4-year pendency of the visa.
The attorneys and staff at the Shulman Law Group, LLC stay current on all of the important developments affecting immigration law in this country including the visa process for those who were the victim of human trafficking. Most significantly, the attorneys have great experience working with prosecutorial authorities and law enforcement to obtain all of the information and certifications necessary to present a case for their clients. Furthermore, they are sensitive to the difficulty some applicants for T Visas may be facing because of the circumstances which cause them to seek such this particular visa. The attorneys and staff at the firm seek to keep their clients completely apprised of all developments in their cases and to ensure they understand what to expect as their cases proceed.