humantrafficking.jpgFederal immigration officials are crisscrossing the country this month to spread the word about resources available to foreign victims of trafficking, violent crimes and domestic violence.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials held a press conference at USCIS’ San Francisco office Tuesday to discuss two visas available to such victims and to urge the public to be aware of potential human trafficking victims in their communities.

Immigration officials define human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery in which victims are transported and forced into prostitution, hard labor or domestic servitude.

Unlike smuggling, which is “an arms-length transaction…with trafficking, you become an ongoing economic asset,” USCIS Public Affairs Officer Sharon Runnery said Tuesday.

Often, traffickers prey on impoverished women and children, luring them into a life of slavery with promises of paid work in the U.S., federal officials said.

Once ensnared, many victims do not know how to escape, said Lynn Boudreau, assistant center director at USCIS’ Vermont Service Center.

The federal agency is partnering with community groups, law enforcement and immigration officials in the Bay Area and nationwide to reach out to potential trafficking and violence victims and educate them about their options.

Foreign trafficking and crime victims can apply for a T or U Visa, created under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, USCIS officials said.

The T visa is geared specifically toward victims of trafficking, while the U visa is meant to aid victims of violent crime or domestic violence, Boudreau said. Both visas provide victims with immigration protection, allowing them to remain in the U.S. for three years.

During that time, T or U visa holders may apply for permanent resident status, she said.

To qualify for the T visas, applicants must show that they have helped law enforcement arrest and prosecute their trafficker and that they would suffer severe hardship if forced to leave the country.

U visas are available to victims who have suffered physical or mental abuse that occurred as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity. Applicants must show they are willing to assist in the investigation and prosecution of that criminal activity, federal officials said.

Boudreau said the government issued all 10,000 available U visas last Fiscal Year, while issuing only about 800 of 5,000 available T visas last year, perhaps because the U visa application is less complicated to complete.

Yet officials said today that those numbers are up from previous years, largely due to USCIS’ ongoing collaboration with police and community-based groups who reach out to victims in their communities.

Susan Bowyer, an attorney for the Immigration Center for Women and Children in San Francisco, said she has seen the visa process work for local trafficking victims who have fled their traffickers and found jobs and stability in the U.S.

“There are so many people who have gone from abject hopelessness and desperation to unlimited possibilities,” she said today.

To report a potential trafficking victim in your community, USCIS urges the public to call a non-governmental, confidential help line at 1-888-373-7888.

“It’s just about being vigilant,” Boudreau said. “If something doesn’t seem right, this is the number to call.”

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Brittanicus

    Never will there ever be another chance again, to remove the contamination that has crept into Congress. Perhaps this is our final option to clean the rot from Washington and replace the aisles with honest TEA PARTY leaders. It’s evident that the GOP doesn’t want to lose their influence and their access to copious favors from H street lobbyists. It’s a similar agenda with Democrats and the hidden sleaze emanating from the Liberal extremists, who must be elected out. Furtherance, that main stream America must stay vigilant, against violations of our voting laws. ILLEGAL ALIENS DO VOTE AND HAVE DONE SO IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS. THANKS TO ACORN AND ITS FRAUDULENT REGISTRATIONS, FOREIGNERS MAY HAVE POSSIBLY CHANGED CLOSE RACES IN OUR “CITIZENS ONLY” ELECTORATE.

    ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS NOT JUST A VIOLATION OF AMERICANS SOVEREIGN RIGHTS, BUT THEFT OF MILLIONS OF JOBS AND A VISABLE DOEWNGRADE OF OUR ECONOMY. REP. LAMAR SMITH IS ON RECORD THIS THURSDAY TO CHANGE THE LAWS AND MAKE E-VERIFY MANDATORY. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM IN MY COMMENTARY TO SPREAD THE WORD. BUT EVERYBODY APPLYING FOR ANY JOB WILL HAVE TO BE VERIFIED. NO MATTER IF YOU’RE BLACK, WHITE, HISPANIC OR ANY OTHER RACES; THIS WILL BE OF MASSIVE ADVANTAGE TO YOU AND YOUR JOB SEARCH IF YOU CAME TO AMERICA THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR. H.R. 2885 New Bill Number for Lamar Smith’s “Legal Workforce Act” IS GOING TO THE FLOOR AND CAN SAVE YOUR JOB BY YOU CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE THROUGH THE WASHINGTON DC SWITCHBOARD AT 202-224-3121. INSISTING YOUR SENATORS AND HOUSE VOTE FOR H.R. 2885.

    Go to the Heritage Foundation website, NumbersUSA or Judicial Watch and read for the dollar figures that should push you to vote. Discover information at American Patrol, the Liberals and Democrats want to keep concealed, of the daily criminal and illegal alien activities in local and national news media. If you believe in the “Rule of Law.” and citizens rights established in the US Constitution.
    Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and major forces have attempted to get him to keep postponing the moving of H.R. 2885.

    All stops will be ripped out, to ensure that—ONLY—A –TRUE–TEA PARTY politician gain control, in the House or Senate. Already the Republican power mongers are influencing debates by pushing Rick Perry, but he has bad karma on illegal immigration, that will forever be a prominent decider in the Presidential or any elections until our laws are strictly enforced. Mitt Romney has settled into a D-, as he hasn’t convinced the millions of TEA PARTY membership of his record on immigration. Most others except Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain have the strong supporters of stopping the out-of-control occupancy of foreigners, who have steadily poured into this nation, with no true deterrent of any administration.

    President Obama for a time has illustrated some strong enforcement, up to this latest period in the White House, but eventually being intimidated by the czars in his circle of far left wing influence. Today–in this dreary recession, when millions of workers throughout America are living on food stamps and limited unemployment benefits, Obama has decided to only to process heinous criminals, instead of following through with the law and deporting every alien who falls into the clutches of ICE. Millions of Americans stand on the edge of miserable poverty, but millions of foreign nationals have been hired by dirty business owners who refuse to follow the law. The 20 million plus population of foreign invaders began in 1986, which was the start of the government’s unceasing engineered encouragement of covertly finding ways to promote millions from pouring through undermanned border regions.

    IT’S AN OBVIOUS CONCLUSION THAT IF THEIR WAS ANY REAL INDUCEMENT TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS, THE BORDERS WOULD BE SEALED SHUT AND UNLAWFUL ENTRY WOULD BE A FELONY? THE 1986 IMMIGRATION LAWS WAS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, AS BUSINESSES WERE NEVER PUNISHED AND THE WHOLE THING WAS A TRAVESTY.

    THE 3.5 Million illegal aliens who received AMNESTY and poor processing (Much of what was tantamount to fraud, concluded with millions more slipping across the borders and flying in from foreign countries. America is now crippled with millions of originally Chain Migration recipients, who survive on welfare handouts? Every year we take in at least a million newcomers. Who supposedly are highly skilled in numerous occupations? In truth many have mediocre job skills, that out or work Americans have the experience to do. This is about importing cheap labor and not top notch scientists, engineers, who receive should have expedited visas. Thousands of the poorly skilled come here on fraudulent applications, drawn up by incorrigible corporations and their well-paid attorneys.

  • Brittanicus

    Never will there ever be another chance again, to remove the contamination that has crept into Congress. Perhaps this is our final option to clean the rot from Washington and replace the aisles with honest TEA PARTY leaders. It’s evident that the GOP doesn’t want to lose their influence and their access to copious favors from H street lobbyists. It’s a similar agenda with Democrats and the hidden sleaze emanating from the Liberal extremists, who must be elected out. Furtherance, that main stream America must stay vigilant, against violations of our voting laws. ILLEGAL ALIENS DO VOTE AND HAVE DONE SO IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS. THANKS TO ACORN AND ITS FRAUDULENT REGISTRATIONS, FOREIGNERS MAY HAVE POSSIBLY CHANGED CLOSE RACES IN OUR “CITIZENS ONLY” ELECTORATE.

    ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS NOT JUST A VIOLATION OF AMERICANS SOVEREIGN RIGHTS, BUT THEFT OF MILLIONS OF JOBS AND A VISABLE DOEWNGRADE OF OUR ECONOMY. REP. LAMAR SMITH IS ON RECORD THIS THURSDAY TO CHANGE THE LAWS AND MAKE E-VERIFY MANDATORY. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM IN MY COMMENTARY TO SPREAD THE WORD. BUT EVERYBODY APPLYING FOR ANY JOB WILL HAVE TO BE VERIFIED. NO MATTER IF YOU’RE BLACK, WHITE, HISPANIC OR ANY OTHER RACES; THIS WILL BE OF MASSIVE ADVANTAGE TO YOU AND YOUR JOB SEARCH IF YOU CAME TO AMERICA THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR. H.R. 2885 New Bill Number for Lamar Smith’s “Legal Workforce Act” IS GOING TO THE FLOOR AND CAN SAVE YOUR JOB BY YOU CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE THROUGH THE WASHINGTON DC SWITCHBOARD AT 202-224-3121. INSISTING YOUR SENATORS AND HOUSE VOTE FOR H.R. 2885.

    Go to the Heritage Foundation website, NumbersUSA or Judicial Watch and read for the dollar figures that should push you to vote. Discover information at American Patrol, the Liberals and Democrats want to keep concealed, of the daily criminal and illegal alien activities in local and national news media. If you believe in the “Rule of Law.” and citizens rights established in the US Constitution.
    Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and major forces have attempted to get him to keep postponing the moving of H.R. 2885.

    All stops will be ripped out, to ensure that—ONLY—A –TRUE–TEA PARTY politician gain control, in the House or Senate. Already the Republican power mongers are influencing debates by pushing Rick Perry, but he has bad karma on illegal immigration, that will forever be a prominent decider in the Presidential or any elections until our laws are strictly enforced. Mitt Romney has settled into a D-, as he hasn’t convinced the millions of TEA PARTY membership of his record on immigration. Most others except Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain have the strong supporters of stopping the out-of-control occupancy of foreigners, who have steadily poured into this nation, with no true deterrent of any administration.

    President Obama for a time has illustrated some strong enforcement, up to this latest period in the White House, but eventually being intimidated by the czars in his circle of far left wing influence. Today–in this dreary recession, when millions of workers throughout America are living on food stamps and limited unemployment benefits, Obama has decided to only to process heinous criminals, instead of following through with the law and deporting every alien who falls into the clutches of ICE. Millions of Americans stand on the edge of miserable poverty, but millions of foreign nationals have been hired by dirty business owners who refuse to follow the law. The 20 million plus population of foreign invaders began in 1986, which was the start of the government’s unceasing engineered encouragement of covertly finding ways to promote millions from pouring through undermanned border regions.

    IT’S AN OBVIOUS CONCLUSION THAT IF THEIR WAS ANY REAL INDUCEMENT TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS, THE BORDERS WOULD BE SEALED SHUT AND UNLAWFUL ENTRY WOULD BE A FELONY? THE 1986 IMMIGRATION LAWS WAS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, AS BUSINESSES WERE NEVER PUNISHED AND THE WHOLE THING WAS A TRAVESTY.

    THE 3.5 Million illegal aliens who received AMNESTY and poor processing (Much of what was tantamount to fraud, concluded with millions more slipping across the borders and flying in from foreign countries. America is now crippled with millions of originally Chain Migration recipients, who survive on welfare handouts? Every year we take in at least a million newcomers. Who supposedly are highly skilled in numerous occupations? In truth many have mediocre job skills, that out or work Americans have the experience to do. This is about importing cheap labor and not top notch scientists, engineers, who receive should have expedited visas. Thousands of the poorly skilled come here on fraudulent applications, drawn up by incorrigible corporations and their well-paid attorneys.