What is trafficking and how does it relate to T visas?
Trafficking is slavery in our midst. Human traffickers recruit or kidnap their victims and force them to provide sex (“sex trafficking”) or labor (“labor trafficking”) whether the victims want to or not.1 Traffickers often control victims so much that they can’t leave, sometimes through:
- threats or violence against the victims’ family in the homeland;
- threats or violence to the victims themselves;
- taking the victims’ passport, identification, and money; or
- physically locking the victims in the building where they are being held.
Traffickers often use victims’ social or economic status to lure them in and keep power over them.
A T visa allows trafficking victims to live and work legally in the United States for four years.2 After having T visa status for three years (or sooner if the trafficking investigation or prosecution is over) you may request “lawful permanent residence,” commonly called a “green card.”3 You must, however, apply before your T visa status runs out.4
1 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)
2 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(c)(1)
3 INA § 245(l)(1)(A); 8 U.S.C. § 1255(l)(1)(A)
4 8 C.F.R. § 245.23(a)(2)(ii)