What Is Human Trafficking?

By Published On: January 25, 2022Categories: Vlog, Green Card, Immigration

”El Show Sin Fronteras”

Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below

Who Are Exposed To Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others.

Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health problems, involvement in the child welfare system, and being a runaway or homeless youth.

At Lincoln-Goldfinch Law we focus on the migration of people to the United States, where we have been able to observe many times this type of case, and we are talking about the Visa that exists for people who were victims of trafficking, but often the traffickers identify and take advantage of the vulnerabilities of their victims to create dependency.

So, in reality it is where freedom is being taken away from well more to make some gain, or make a profit under any forced labor, and sex, sex trafficking, is what most of our minds think about but all of that is not included in this in this type of case.

This is a more common issue than many people think it happens more than we know, because most of these situations are not reported to police or other agencies, but we in our office have many cases with survivors of human trafficking.

Normally when we talk to a person, they don’t know that they have suffered these situations, and our job is to analyze and detail each specific situation when it comes to human trafficking, because that way you can see if a person suffered fraud, took a job through lies, or had to work long hours without being paid for it, because their boss told them that there is a debt or they took their documents, or they work as a nanny in a house with a family and take care of the children but have no free time during the week or on weekends, or work 10 or 12 hours a day without a break.

There are many examples of such trafficking and it’s not something we see in the movies or on the news, it’s something that usually happens in secret without anyone talking about it.

How Do I Know I Was Trafficked?

It is a difficult thing to answer, and first of all, this is not something that only happens to undocumented people who suffer trafficking, they are vulnerable communities, which can be minors, children, even undocumented immigrants.

When someone is in a situation, and perhaps if they are already out of it or are in a position where they have to work under duress or fraud, and that person does not feel free to leave and choose another job, that is a very big red flag, that the individual is trapped in a job because their employer tells them they are going to pay you in the future, or they tell you they are not going to give you back your documents until you have paid your debt, or they do not feel free to leave, for example.

What If I Was Forced To Cross The Border With Drugs?

These are not easy cases, because those people have crossed the border, but it is a common cause that we see in that area, they are cases that we call Stash House, these are perhaps situations where people paid a coyote to cross and then were kidnapped.

During the time spent with the posters or the coyotes they had to work, they had to wash dishes, take care of children or look after sick people, etc.

That type of case is very common, but it should be noted that it is a little more difficult to win a case of this nature, and already when we find people who crossed the border under force, to be used to transport drugs, and this would make that person qualify for their Visa, but the difficulty would be in proving the details of their case.

One thing that is worth mentioning, is that when we are talking about an immigration case, and we are touching on the area of human trafficking, it is something that we know affects many more people and they need justice, but we are talking about immigrants who want to apply for legal status in the United States based on what they have suffered, and for that, they can opt for the T Visa case, which is like the U Visa but it is only for human trafficking cases.

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A requirement in this type of case, is that you must request a report from an official, such as a law enforcement agency, but it can also be the general attorney of the State of Texas who has an area of human trafficking investigations.

In our office when we start a T Visa case, normally our clients have not made a report with the police or any agency, because maybe they just suffered and escaped from the situation, but now we are starting everything in their case, including the investigation, and we have to choose which agency would be the best to receive that report.

Many of our clients are afraid to make that report because they were people who were kidnapped with the cartels and they are afraid to report them, that is why it is important to know that when we are talking about a T Visa case, it is a requirement to make that report, and sometimes the police decide not to do anything if it was a case that happened years ago, or they do not have the resources to do the investigation, but they have to make the report and ask for a certificate from the police or any office that has made the report with them.

One difference between the U Visa and the T Visa is that in both types of cases a report to the police is required, but in the case of the U Visa, it includes more crimes outside of human trafficking, such as domestic violence, rape, kidnapping, assault, murder, etc.

It is necessary in this type of case to receive a signed certification from the police stating that the applicant was a victim and was helpful with their investigation, that is what they must certify for you.

On the T Visa, it is a little easier because you have to make a report to the police, but you do not need to receive certification to move forward on your case, because sometimes the police in rural areas do not agree to provide a benefit to the immigrant and decide not to sign a case, but even so, we can still move forward with T Visa cases, it also moves much faster than U Visa cases.

Is It Better To Have An U Visa Or T Visa?

The T Visa at this time would be better because it moves faster, the two programs have a limit of Visas available each year, for the U Visa there are 10,000 Visas, for the T Visa there are around 5,000, but there is a very long waiting line for the U Visa, there are currently more than 100,000 pending cases.

The wait for the U Visa is now more than 5 years, but in the case of the T Visa it as fast as it is a rarer type of case, and they have never received more cases than the number of Visas that are surrendered, that is why for the T Visa the wait is only based on the processing of your paperwork and the immigration decision, otherwise, there is no long wait as in the current case of the U Visa.

In both programs, the U Visa and the T Visa, you have the same benefits because both have a work permit that is valid for 4 years, but you can request in both your permanent residence after 3 years of having completed your process, and at the end, the American citizenship, another very good thing about these two programs is that it is possible to include all your family in it.

Let’s say a girl suffered from sexual assault and human trafficking, she could apply for the U Visa or the T Visa, but in either type of case she could include her siblings who are minors, her father and her mother as well, then her entire family could settle based on that incident but. T Visa moves faster.

Do I Qualify For The T Visa If My Boss Doesn’t Keep His Promise?

It is important to review any evidence or information that the person may present in a private consultation with us, because when there is a relationship between an employee and the employer, and the boss wants to petition his employee, each type of Visa has its own rules on who has to pay for the H-1b for example, which is the work Visa, they normally have rules that say that the employer has to pay for the immigration process, but there are some Visa programs that do not have that requirement, so we would have to review the income and what they are taking from them for the immigration process, and if it is valid or is it a violation of the rules, and it is possible that if you are suffering from labor abuse, it could be a T Visa case, but we need more information.

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What happens in the case of a person who has been promised a modeling job, and from this promise of work the salary that was promised has not been the one that was offered and this person is undocumented in the country? Is there anything that can be done for her?

This type of situation is possible, and in fact, it is something very common, we have had thousands of consultations with contractors, people who received promises to receive a payment and for whatever reason, their boss did not make the corresponding payment, but we need for that type of case to prove that the person who was their employee, was forced to work by force or under some kind of deception or lies, then we have to prove that the motive of the boss was to execute with his employee fraud.

We have had many cases of a group of employees who worked for a boss, and that person made several threats or told several people who worked for him that he was going to call immigration if they didn’t cooperate, so if there is more evidence that the motives of that boss were coercion or fraud, but we need to look at the total situation, analyze every detail, how that boss makes employment arrangements, and whether he treats undocumented immigrants differently than legal employees, and if a lot of threats are carried out it seems like that could be a T Visa case, but we need to know the whole situation when we are giving our advice.

In case you have additional questions about labor abuse, threats, human trafficking, or about your specific case, you can contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a short 10 minute evaluation of your case over the phone we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so as not to miss our weekly transmissions via FacebookYouTube & Twitch.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is the situation where a person loses his or her freedom and is exploited by another person to perform forced labor under threat if he or she does not comply.

Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people with risk factors such as immigration or relocation, mental health issues or child abuse are especially vulnerable.

Any time you feel your freedom is being affected, such as people who are afraid to change or quit their job because they are being abused or threatened by their bosses. Also, people who are forced to cross the U.S.-Mexico border with drugs in order to earn money.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as greencards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job. After the pandemic we began offering bankruptcy services in addition to immigration I realized how much lack of information there is in financial literacy resources in Spanish.

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