In 2008, FBI and immigration agents arrested Maribel Rodriguez Vasquez, a 28-year-old Guatemalan woman in Los Angeles. She with five of her relatives and three other Guatemalan nationals were charged with 50 counts, alleging that they lured at least a dozen young women, including five minors as young as 13 years old, to the United States with promises of good jobs, only to put them to work as prostitutes.
“The reality is that human trafficking goes on in nearly every American city and town,” said Lisette Arsuaga, director of development for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, a human rights organization in Los Angeles.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers lure individuals to the United States with false promises of employment and a better life. Immigrants and their families may also be victims of other types of crime including rape, murder, manslaughter, domestic violence and sexual assault. However, immigrants who are victims of human trafficking and other crimes while in the United States should know USCIS offers protection by providing two types of immigration relief:
T nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to victims of trafficking. The T-visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.
U nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The U-visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
If you have been the victim of human trafficking or a crime, you may be eligible for immigration relief. Please contact an experienced immigration lawyer to learn about your visa options.
Please note that nothing contained herein shall constitute legal advice or shall be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship.