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Legal Information: Federal

Statutes: Federal Statutes

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Updated: 
September 20, 2019

22 U.S.C. § 7105. Protection and assistance for victims of trafficking

(a) Assistance for victims in other countries

(1) In general

The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, in consultation with appropriate nongovernmental organizations, shall establish and carry out programs and initiatives in foreign countries to assist in the safe integration, reintegration, or resettlement, as appropriate, of victims of trafficking. Such programs and initiatives shall be designed to meet the appropriate assistance needs of such persons and their children, as identified by the Task Force, and shall be carried out in a manner which takes into account the cross-border, regional, and transnational aspects of trafficking in persons. In addition, such programs and initiatives shall, to the maximum extent practicable, include the following:

(A) Support for local in-country nongovernmental organization-operated hotlines, culturally and linguistically appropriate protective shelters, and regional and international nongovernmental organization networks and databases on trafficking, including support to assist nongovernmental organizations in establishing service centers and systems that are mobile and extend beyond large cities.

(B) Support for nongovernmental organizations and advocates to provide legal, social, and other services and assistance to trafficked individuals, particularly those individuals in detention, and by facilitating contact between relevant foreign government agencies and such nongovernmental organizations to facilitate cooperation between the foreign governments and such organizations.

(C) Education and training for trafficked women and girls.

(D) The safe integration or reintegration of trafficked individuals into an appropriate community or family, with full respect for the wishes, dignity, and safety of the trafficked individual.

(E) Support for developing or increasing programs to assist families of victims in locating, repatriating, and treating their trafficked family members, in assisting the voluntary repatriation of these family members or their integration or resettlement into appropriate communities, and in providing them with treatment.

(F) In cooperation and coordination with relevant organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, and private nongovernmental organizations that contract with, or receive grants from, the United States Government to assist refugees and internally displaced persons, support for–

(i) increased protections for refugees and internally displaced persons, including outreach and education efforts to prevent such refugees and internally displaced persons from being exploited by traffickers; and

(ii) performance of best interest determinations for unaccompanied and separated children who come to the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, its partner organizations, or any organization that contracts with the Department of State in order to identify child trafficking victims and to assist their safe integration, reintegration, and resettlement.

(2) Additional requirement

In establishing and conducting programs and initiatives described in paragraph (1), the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall take all appropriate steps to enhance cooperative efforts among foreign countries, including countries of origin of victims of trafficking, to assist in the integration, reintegration, or resettlement, as appropriate, of victims of trafficking, including stateless victims. In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary and the Administrator shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that cooperative efforts among foreign countries are undertaken on a regional basis and shall brief Congress annually on such efforts.

(b) Victims in the United States

(1) Assistance

(A) Eligibility for benefits and services

Notwithstanding title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, an alien who is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, or an alien classified as a nonimmigrant under section 1101 (a)(15)(T)(ii) of Title 8, shall be eligible for benefits and services under any Federal or State program or activity funded or administered by any official or agency described in subparagraph (B) to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States as a refugee under section 1157 of Title 8.

(B) Requirement to expand benefits and services

(i) In general

Subject to subparagraph (C) and, in the case of nonentitlement programs, to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Labor, the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, and the heads of other Federal agencies shall expand benefits and services to victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons in the United States, and aliens classified as a nonimmigrant under section 1101(a)(15)(T)(ii) of Title 8, without regard to the immigration status of such victims. In the case of nonentitlement programs funded by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, such benefits and services may include services to assist potential victims of trafficking in achieving certification and to assist minor dependent children of victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons or potential victims of trafficking.

(ii) National human trafficking hotline

Beginning in fiscal year 2017, and in each fiscal year thereafter, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall make grants for a national communication system to assist victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons in communicating with service providers. The Secretary shall give priority to grant applicants that have experience in providing telephone services to victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons. The number of the national human trafficking hotline described in this clause shall be posted in a visible place in all Federal buildings.

(C) Definition of victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons

For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons” means only a person–

(i) who has been subjected to an act or practice described in section 7102(8) of this title as in effect on October 28, 2000; and

(ii)(I) who has not attained 18 years of age; or

(II) who is the subject of a certification under subparagraph (E).

(D) Repealed. Pub.L. 108-193, § 6(a)(2), Dec. 19, 2003, 117 Stat. 2880.

(E) Certification

(i) In general

Subject to clause (ii), the certification referred to in subparagraph (C) is a certification by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, after consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, that the person referred to in subparagraph (C)(ii)(II)–

(I) is willing to assist in every reasonable way in the investigation and prosecution of severe forms of trafficking in persons or is unable to cooperate with such a request due to physical or psychological trauma; and

(II)(aa) has made a bona fide application for a visa under section 1101(a)(15)(T) of Title 8, as added by subsection (e), that has not been denied; or

(bb) is a person whose continued presence in the United States the Secretary of Homeland Security is ensuring in order to effectuate prosecution of traffickers in persons.

(ii) Period of effectiveness

A certification referred to in subparagraph (C), with respect to a person described in clause (i)(II)(bb), shall be effective only for so long as the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that the continued presence of such person is necessary to effectuate prosecution of traffickers in persons.

(iii) Investigation and prosecution defined

For the purpose of a certification under this subparagraph, the term “investigation and prosecution” includes–

(I) identification of a person or persons who have committed severe forms of trafficking in persons;

(II) location and apprehension of such persons;

(III) testimony at proceedings against such persons; or

(IV) responding to and cooperating with requests for evidence and information.

(iv) Assistance to investigations

In making the certification described in this subparagraph with respect to the assistance to investigation or prosecution described in clause (i)(I), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider statements from State and local law enforcement officials that the person referred to in subparagraph (C)(ii)(II) has been willing to assist in every reasonable way with respect to the investigation and prosecution of State and local crimes such as kidnapping, rape, slavery, or other forced labor offenses, where severe forms of trafficking appear to have been involved.

(F) No requirement of official certification for United States citizens and lawful permanent residents

Nothing in this section may be construed to require United States citizens or lawful permanent residents who are victims of severe forms of trafficking to obtain an official certification from the Secretary of Health and Human Services in order to access any of the specialized services described in this subsection or any other Federal benefits and protections to which they are otherwise entitled.

(G) Eligibility for interim assistance of children

(i) Determination

Upon receiving credible information that a child described in subparagraph (C)(ii)(I) who is seeking assistance under this paragraph may have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall promptly determine if the child is eligible for interim assistance under this paragraph. The Secretary shall have exclusive authority to make interim eligibility determinations under this clause. A determination of interim eligibility under this clause shall not affect the independent determination whether a child is a victim of a severe form of trafficking.

(ii) Notification

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall notify the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security not later than 24 hours after all interim eligibility determinations have been made under clause (i).

(iii) Duration

Assistance under this paragraph may be provided to individuals determined to be eligible under clause (i) for a period of up to 90 days and may be extended for an additional 30 days.

(iv) Long-term assistance for children

(I) Eligibility determination

Before the expiration of the period for interim assistance under clause (iii), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall determine if the child referred to in clause (i) is eligible for assistance under this paragraph.

(II) Consultation

In making a determination under subclause (I), the Secretary shall consult with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and nongovernmental organizations with expertise on victims of severe form1 of trafficking.

(III) Letter of eligibility

If the Secretary, after receiving information the Secretary believes, taken as a whole, indicates that the child is eligible for assistance under this paragraph, the Secretary shall issue a letter of eligibility. The Secretary may not require that the child cooperate with law enforcement as a condition for receiving such letter of eligibility.

(H) Notification of children for interim assistance

Not later than 24 hours after a Federal, State, or local official discovers that a person who is under 18 years of age may be a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the official shall notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services to facilitate the provision of interim assistance under subparagraph (G).

(2) Grants

(A) In general

Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Attorney General may make grants to States, Indian tribes, units of local government, and nonprofit, nongovernmental victims’ service organizations to develop, expand, or strengthen victim service programs for victims of human trafficking, including programs that provide trauma-informed care or housing options to such victims who are–

(i)(I) between 12 and 24 years of age; and

(II) homeless, in foster care, or involved in the criminal justice system;

(ii) transitioning out of the foster care system; or

(iii) women or girls in underserved populations.

(B) Allocation of grant funds

Of amounts made available for grants under this paragraph, there shall be set aside–

(i) three percent for research, evaluation, and statistics;

(ii) 5 percent for training and technical assistance, including increasing capacity and expertise on security for and protection of service providers from intimidation or retaliation for their activities; and

(iii) one percent for management and administration.

(C) Limitation on Federal share

The Federal share of a grant made under this paragraph may not exceed 75 percent of the total costs of the projects described in the application submitted.

(D) Priority

In selecting recipients of grants under this paragraph that are only available for law enforcement operations or task forces, the Attorney General may give priority to any applicant that files an attestation with the Attorney General stating that–

(i) the grant funds awarded under this paragraph–

(I) will be used to assist in the prevention of severe forms of trafficking in persons;

(II) will be used to strengthen efforts to investigate and prosecute those who knowingly benefit financially from participation in a venture that has engaged in any act of human trafficking;

(III) will be used to take affirmative measures to avoid arresting, charging, or prosecuting victims of human trafficking for any offense that is the direct result of their victimization; and

(IV) will not be used to require a victim of human trafficking to collaborate with law enforcement officers as a condition of access to any shelter or restorative services; and

(ii) the applicant will provide dedicated resources for anti-human trafficking law enforcement officers for a period that is longer than the duration of the grant received under this paragraph.

(c) Trafficking victim regulations

Not later than 180 days after October 28, 2000, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations for law enforcement personnel, immigration officials, and Department of State officials to implement the following:

(1) Protections while in custody

Victims of severe forms of trafficking, while in the custody of the Federal Government and to the extent practicable, shall–

(A) not be detained in facilities inappropriate to their status as crime victims;

(B) receive necessary medical care and other assistance; and

(C) be provided protection if a victim’s safety is at risk or if there is danger of additional harm by recapture of the victim by a trafficker, including–

(i) taking measures to protect trafficked persons and their family members from intimidation and threats of reprisals and reprisals from traffickers and their associates; and

(ii) ensuring that the names and identifying information of trafficked persons and their family members are not disclosed to the public.

(2) Access to information

Victims of severe forms of trafficking shall have access to information about their rights and translation services. To the extent practicable, victims of severe forms of trafficking shall have access to information about federally funded or administered anti-trafficking programs that provide services to victims of severe forms of trafficking.

(3) Authority to permit continued presence in the United States

(A) Trafficking victims

(i) In general

If a Federal law enforcement official files an application stating that an alien is a victim of a severe form of trafficking and may be a potential witness to such trafficking, the Secretary of Homeland Security may permit the alien to remain in the United States to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for such crime.

(ii) Safety

While investigating and prosecuting suspected traffickers, Federal law enforcement officials described in clause (i) shall endeavor to make reasonable efforts to protect the safety of trafficking victims, including taking measures to protect trafficked persons and their family members from intimidation, threats of reprisals, and reprisals from traffickers and their associates.

(iii) Continuation of presence

The Secretary shall permit an alien described in clause (i) who has filed a civil action under section 1595 of Title 18 to remain in the United States until such action is concluded. If the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, determines that the alien has failed to exercise due diligence in pursuing such action, the Secretary may revoke the order permitting the alien to remain in the United States.

(iv) Exception

Notwithstanding clause (iii), an alien described in such clause may be deported before the conclusion of the administrative and legal proceedings related to a complaint described in such clause if such alien is inadmissible under paragraph (2)(A)(i)(II), (2)(B), (2)(C), (2)(E), (2)(H), (2)(I), (3)(A)(i), (3)(A)(iii), (3)(B), or (3)(C) of section 1182(a) of Title 8.

(B) Parole for relatives

Law enforcement officials may submit written requests to the Secretary of Homeland Security, in accordance with section 1229b(b)(6) of Title 8, to permit the parole into the United States of certain relatives of an alien described in subparagraph (A)(i).

(C) State and local law enforcement

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall–

(i) develop materials to assist State and local law enforcement officials in working with Federal law enforcement to obtain continued presence for victims of a severe form of trafficking in cases investigated or prosecuted at the State or local level; and

(ii) distribute the materials developed under clause (i) to State and local law enforcement officials.

(4) Training of Government personnel

(A) In general

Appropriate personnel of the Department of State, including members of the Service (as such term is defined in section 3903 of this title), the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Justice shall be trained in identifying victims of severe forms of trafficking and providing for the protection of such victims, including juvenile victims. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall provide training to State and local officials to improve the identification and protection of such victims.

(B) Training components

Training under this paragraph shall include–

(i) a distance learning course on trafficking-in-persons issues and the Department of State’s obligations under this Act, which shall be designed for embassy reporting officers, regional bureaus’ trafficking-in-persons coordinators, and their superiors;

(ii) specific trafficking-in-persons briefings for all ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission before such individuals depart for their posts;

(iii) at least annual reminders to all personnel referred to in clauses (i) and (ii), including appropriate personnel from other Federal departments and agencies, at each diplomatic or consular post of the Department of State located outside the United States of–

(I) key problems, threats, methods, and warning signs of trafficking in persons specific to the country or jurisdiction in which each such post is located; and

(II) appropriate procedures to report information that any such personnel may acquire about possible cases of trafficking in persons; and

(iv) a discussion clarifying that an individual who knowingly solicits or patronizes a commercial sex act from a person who was a minor (consistent with section 1591(c) of Title 18) or was subject to force, fraud, or coercion is guilty of an offense under chapter 77 of Title 18 and is a party to a human trafficking offense.

(d) Construction

Nothing in subsection (c) shall be construed as creating any private cause of action against the United States or its officers or employees.

(e) Protection from removal for certain crime victims

(1) to (4) Omitted

(5) Statutory construction

Nothing in this section, or in the amendments made by this section, shall be construed as prohibiting the Secretary of Homeland Security from instituting removal proceedings under section 1229a of Title 8 against an alien admitted as a nonimmigrant under section 1101(a)(15)(T)(i) of Title 8, as added by subsection (e), for conduct committed after the alien’s admission into the United States, or for conduct or a condition that was not disclosed to the Secretary of Homeland Security prior to the alien’s admission as a nonimmigrant under such section 1101(a)(15)(T)(i) of Title 8.

(f)2Assistance for United States citizens and lawful permanent residents

(1) In general

The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall establish a program to assist United States citizens and aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as defined in section 1101(a)(20) of Title 8) who are victims of severe forms of trafficking. In determining the assistance that would be most beneficial for such victims, the Secretary and the Attorney General shall consult with nongovernmental organizations that provide services to victims of severe forms of trafficking in the United States.

(2) Use of existing programs

In addition to specialized services required for victims described in paragraph (1), the program established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall–

(A) facilitate communication and coordination between the providers of assistance to such victims;

(B) provide a means to identify such providers; and

(C) provide a means to make referrals to programs for which such victims are already eligible, including programs administered by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.

(3) Grants

(A) In general

The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General may award grants to States, Indian tribes, units of local government, and nonprofit, nongovernmental victim service organizations to develop, expand, and strengthen victim service programs authorized under this subsection.

(B) Maximum Federal share

The Federal share of a grant awarded under this paragraph may not exceed 75 percent of the total costs of the projects described in the application submitted by the grantee.

(f)2Omitted

(g) Annual reports

On or before October 31 of each year, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees setting forth, with respect to the preceding fiscal year, the number, if any, of otherwise eligible applicants who did not receive visas under section 1101(a)(15)(T) of Title 8, or who were unable to adjust their status under section 1255(l) of Title 8, solely on account of the unavailability of visas due to a limitation imposed by section 1184(o)(2) or 1255(l)(4)(A) of Title 8.