This month, USCIS is sponsoring National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month to increase public awareness regarding this serious issue and to protect the victims of human trafficking. As USCIS explains in the official press release regarding this national campaign:
- Traffickers often lie to victims, promising them jobs. They will then try to keep people in “submission” by threatening to use their immigration status against them.
- Victims of human trafficking CAN reach out to USCIS and law enforcement officials. In fact, when they assist authorities in the prosecution of human traffickers, they will NOT have to worry about their immigration status.
- Authorities across the U.S. can get more training regarding human trafficking by contacting USCIS.
Visas Protect Human Trafficking Victims, USCIS Points Out
Victims of human trafficking do not have to remain submissive to their victimizers due to immigration-related reasons, USCIS has specifically noted. In fact, victims of human trafficking who help with investigations and/or prosecutions of these offenses may be eligible for:
- T visas – These are generally reserved for victims of human trafficking (and certain family members of these victims). Each year, USCIS makes 5,000 T visas available for victims of human trafficking.
- U visas – Also intended for victims of human trafficking, U visas may also be granted to victims of domestic violence (or certain other serious crimes). According to USCIS, 10,000 U visas are available each year in the U.S., and since 2010, USCIS has maxed out the issuance of these visas each year.
What You Can Do to Support the Cause
While anyone who has information related to the victims or perpetrators of human trafficking is encouraged to share this info with the proper authorities, USCIS has also pointed out the following as ways people can help support this important cause:
- Share info about this campaign with your colleagues, friends and family
- Get USCIS training to identify and support the victims of human trafficking.
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