Under American law, human trafficking is one of the most serious labor violations. It is also a criminal offense that involves physical and psychological abuse of a worker, creating an unacceptable and criminal dependence of the worker on the employer.

In 2000, the United States passed the Trafficking in Persons Protection Act, which introduced the T visa for victims of such crimes. This program includes several types of visas: T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5 and T-6. The primary purpose of these visas is to encourage victims of human trafficking to assist in investigations, as well as to provide immediate family members with the opportunity to obtain nonimmigrant visas to the United States.

Nonimmigrant status T allows victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States for an initial period of up to 4 years.

This designation helps protect victims and improves police efforts to detect and investigate cases of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime in which criminals use force, fraud, or coercion to force people to provide labor or perform other types of services.
They generally target the most vulnerable, including those without legal immigration status.

Immigrants are often afraid to report exploiters who threaten them with arrest and deportation. However, in reality there is nothing to be afraid of – in the United States, such actions are regarded as human trafficking, and law enforcement agencies will take action not against you, but against your offenders.

“We are committed to protecting victims of human trafficking and minimizing any barriers that may prevent them from getting help,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddu.

“This final rule has been many years in the making, and I am thrilled that the T-Visa program now has a strong regulatory foundation. This makes our approach more focused on the needs of victims and strengthens the T-Visa application process, ensuring victims are protected as intended by Congress.”

In the US, forced labor means forcing someone to work under threat or violence.

Examples include:

  • Farm workers prevented from leaving fields and threatened with deportation
  • Housekeepers who have had their passports confiscated and are threatened with violence if they try to leave
  • Factory workers who are not paid and are threatened with physical punishment for failure to comply with standards

The Department of Homeland Security and USCIS recently published a final rule aimed at strengthening nonimmigrant T status and protections for this category of aliens.

Major updates include:

    • Updated definitions of terms such as “serious harm” and “abuse”
    • Reporting and evidence requirements have been clarified to reduce the number of requests for additional evidence
    • Victims are now required to report incidents of human trafficking to law enforcement authorities in the appropriate jurisdiction, making it easier to respond to these incidents
    • Simplified the process of fair determination and adjudication while maintaining anti-fraud controls

The main provisions for victims of trafficking are described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which has been amended and expanded.
In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an interim rule allowing the public to provide suggestions for improvements to the T-visa program. These changes were based on practical experience in combating human trafficking. In July 2021, DHS reopened the public comment period on the temporary rule for 30 days and extended the deadline for comments.
The final rule, published as amended to the 2016 rule, refines the existing regulatory framework and substantially addresses public feedback.

The DHS Human Trafficking Center was created in 2020 to coordinate the efforts of 16 different DHS offices to conduct law enforcement operations, protect and support victims, conduct intelligence and analysis, and develop public education and training programs. Led by the DHS Human Trafficking Center, the Blue Campaign is a national effort to educate the public about the problem of human trafficking. The Department is also active in combating online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Contact us for assistance with obtaining a T visa and solutions any other immigration issues. Our experienced immigration attorneys are ready to provide you with assistance and support at every step of your immigration process. With us you can be sure of the quality and professional approach to your business.