What do I need to know about the personal statement and corroboration included in my application?
The personal statement is very important. It is the only opportunity you have to tell your story in your own words and for USCIS to hear your “voice.” Your attorney or a crime victim advocate can help you organize your story but it should be in your own words. If you can’t get a law enforcement endorsement, you must explain in your statement how you tried to be helpful and what response, if any, you got back from law enforcement. You should also use your statement to explain why you meet the other eligibility requirements, especially if you don’t have a lot of other documents to support your case.
Similarly, if you are seeing a mental health therapist or other counselor to deal with the consequences of the trafficking, a statement from that therapist or counselor may be very helpful. S/he can describe both the facts of the trafficking, as you told them to him/her, and how the trafficking affected you. You may not be able to, or may not want to, explain all of this again in your personal statement and so having the therapist or counselor to do that for you may be easier. Trafficking victims are often raped or tortured, and it is reasonable for victims to prefer to supply details of that experience through their therapist or counselor. The goal of the law is to help trafficking victims, not re-traumatize them.
Other evidence that may support your case (“corroboration”) includes any documents or evidence from medical, legal, or social service systems that supports your own story and shows that you meet the T visa requirements. USCIS likes evidence from other “systems” because those systems are assumed to have expertise in their areas. They will, however, look at evidence from other sources too, especially if you and your lawyer explain why you couldn’t get “systems” evidence and why this source (your counselor, for instance) is believable, trustworthy and knowledgeable.