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Victim Services and Immigrant Victims

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1 Victim Services and Immigrant Victims
I'm going to begin today's presentation with a story… A young woman from Guatemala was kidnapped and brought to Florida by a Guatemalan native. He forced the girl to work long, grueling days in tomato fields and then forced her to have sex with him at night. Upon discovering the two together, his wife became enraged. The man, in turn, physically assaulted his wife, who then called the police. Local law enforcement initially treated the case as a domestic violence situation, but wondered why a young, non-English-speaking woman was cowering in a corner of the room. Suspecting that she could be a trafficking victim, they took her to a local domestic violence shelter. The man is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for kidnapping, immigration violations, slavery and conspiracy to manufacture false documents. The young woman became one of the first trafficking victims to be granted a T visa through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, allowing her to stay in the United States. You will learn more about this law and how it helps trafficking victims later on in this presentation. What would have happened to the young Guatemalan woman had the police not looked beneath the surface of this situation that may have appeared to be a typical case of domestic violence?

2 Presentation Overview
Identifying crimes commonly committed against non-citizens Overview of immigration options for crime victims The story I just shared was important because it brings to life the harsh realities of human trafficking, regarded by many today as modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is the exploitation of a person for forced sex or labor. Today, I hope you walk away from this presentation with an understanding of why your role is critical in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking. This presentation should provide you with: An overview of human trafficking including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. We will discuss strategies for identifying the crime of human trafficking and how to identify victims and manage them as witnesses. Explain the particular services available to a victim of trafficking. We will discuss your role and the importance of your role in combating human trafficking.

3 Human Trafficking: What Is It?
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery Victims of trafficking are exploited for commercial sex or labor Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to achieve exploitation After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is the fastest growing. Human trafficking is a devastating human rights violation that takes place not only internationally, but also here in the United States. It is, indeed, a form of modern-day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to enslave their victims into situations involving sexual exploitation or forced labor. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today, often operated by organized crime syndicates.

4 Human Trafficking: What Is It?
Sex Trafficking: Commercial sex act induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which person performing the act is under age 18. Labor Trafficking: Using force, fraud or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain or employ a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery The crime of trafficking involves exploitation of the victim. The physical movement of the victim is not required. The TVPA protects both U.S. citizens and non-citizens. There are primarily two types of human trafficking: Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking. Sex trafficking operations occur in highly visible venues such as street prostitution, as well as more underground locations such as closed-brothel systems that operate out of residential homes. Sex trafficking also takes place in a variety of public and private locations such as massage parlors, spas, strip clubs and other fronts for prostitution. Victims may start off dancing or stripping in clubs and are often coerced into more exploitative situations of prostitution and pornography. Forced labor occurs in various forms including domestic servitude such as nannies and maids, sweatshop factories, janitorial jobs, construction sites, farm work, restaurants and panhandling. It is important to clarify that the crime of trafficking actually occurs when the victim is exploited for sex or forced labor – not when the victim is moved from one location to another.

5 Trafficking vs. Smuggling
Must contain element of force fraud or coercion (unless victim under 18 and engaged in commercial sex acts Forced labor and/or exploitation Need not involve actual movement of the victim No requirement of crossing an international border Victim must be involved in labor/services or commercial sex acts, i.e. must be “working” SMUGGLING Person generally consents to be smuggled No actual or implied coercion Persons are free to leave, change jobs, etc. Must involve element of transportation

6 Who Are Victims of Human Trafficking?
Approximately 800,000 to 900,000 victims annually trafficked across international borders worldwide; between 18,000 and 20,000 victims trafficked into United States annually. More than half of victims trafficked into United States are children; victims are probably about equally women and men. Victims can be trafficked into the U.S. from anywhere in the world. Within the U.S., both citizens and non-citizens fall prey to traffickers. Many victims in the U.S. do not speak English and are unable to communicate with service providers, police, or others who might be able to help them. Human trafficking is an horrific international problem, with nearly a million victims trafficked across international borders annually. However, this is not just an international problem. Trafficking also takes place here in the United States. The U.S. State Department estimates that between 18,000 and 20,000 victims are trafficked into this country each year. More than half of those trafficked into the United States are children, although many women and men are victims as well. The majority of trafficking victims come to the United States from Asia, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe and Canada (but also Africa and India). Trafficking victims sent to the United States typically do not speak English. They often are unable to communicate with service providers, police, or others who might be able to help them. When a victim of trafficking is identified, it no longer matters what their purpose or intent was for coming to the United States. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, victims of trafficking can apply for special visas or receive other forms of immigration relief.

7 Mindset of Trafficking Victims
Frequently victims: Do not speak English and are unfamiliar with U.S. culture Distrust outsiders, especially law enforcement – fear of deportation Do not identify as victims; often blame themselves for predicaments Although many victims have been beaten and/or raped, current situation may still be better than where they came from May be unaware of rights or may have been intentionally misinformed about rights in this country Fear for safety of families in their home countries, who are often threatened by traffickers  it’s important for you to keep in mind where the victim is coming from and what their mindset is when they come in contact with you. These are just a few examples of the mindset of a typical victim of human trafficking [Refer to examples on the slide].

8 How Are Victims Trafficked?
Force, fraud and coercion are methods used by traffickers to trap victims into lives of servitude, abuse Force: Rape, beatings, confinement Fraud: Includes false and deceptive offers of employment, marriage, better life Coercion: Threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint of, any person; any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause victims to believe that failure to perform an act would result in restraint against them; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process. Many victims of trafficking are forced to work in the sex trade. However, trafficking also takes place in labor situations such as domestic servitude, sweatshop factories, or migrant agricultural work. Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to traffic women, men and children.

9 Myths Associated with Human Trafficking
All Prostitutes Are Willing Participants Understanding the mindset of human trafficking victims, it’s easy to see why there are several myths or misconceptions associated with human trafficking., it’s important for you to be aware of these myths and to look beyond them to see the issue of human trafficking to help expose the real criminals, the traffickers. Although prostitution is probably the most common type of crime in which you may encounter victims of trafficking, there is an overall misconception that all prostitutes are willing participants, or even broader, that all sex trade participants are prostitutes. That as participants they are proactively involved in the sex trade on their own free will. While this may in fact be the case for some, it often times is not the case for victims of human trafficking, who are forced or coerced into the sex trade by traffickers. Victims of trafficking may be perceived as prostitutes because they often do not initially self-identify as victims. However, if you look beneath the surface of someone you may think is a typical prostitute, you may find an innocent victim in need of help and protection.

10 Myths Associated with Human Trafficking
All Immigrants Smuggled into the United States Enter Willingly There are significant differences between victims of human trafficking and migrants who are smuggled into the United States. Again, you may be in a situation where you arrest someone on illegal immigration charges because someone cannot produce the proper documentation. Don’t make the assumption that this person was willingly smuggled into the United States illegally and is, therefore, a criminal. It’s important for you to look beneath the surface of that person because: Victims of human trafficking are coerced or fraudulently induced into trafficking while smuggling cases include those who freely and knowingly consent. Victims of human trafficking are continuously exploited for labor or commercial sex, while the act of smuggling ends when the migrants arrive at the intended destination. Movement from place to place is not a requisite to the crime of trafficking. For example, victims can be trafficked even if they are not transported from country to country. In contrast, human smuggling involves the illegal transport of persons across international borders. Some victims of human trafficking travel willingly and legally to the United States with the proper documentation. However, once they come into contact with their trafficker or “employer,” their legal documents are usually taken from them, never to be seen again.

11 Myths Associated with Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking Is Crime Prosecuted Only at Federal Level Because there is a Federal law that prosecutes against crimes involving the trafficking of humans, it is often assumed that all crimes of human trafficking are prosecuted at the Federal level, and therefore, there is no role or stake for state or local law enforcement. [We will review this law shortly, which is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.] During the course of committing trafficking crimes, traffickers frequently commit state crimes such as murder, kidnapping, battery, assault, sexual battery and false imprisonment. The best way to successfully prosecute a human trafficking case is through a collaboration between local law enforcement, Federal authorities and social service providers. Of course, this isn’t the only way, but the Feds and social services will eventually have to get involved anyway, so to proactively involve them is a more effective strategy. . You may be the first officer to encounter potential victims of trafficking at the scene of a crime.

12 Myths Associated with Human Trafficking
All Participants Involved in Human Trafficking Are Criminals Often times, persons identified/encountered in criminal investigations are assumed to be criminals (willing participants of the crime), not victims. Victims are often arrested under the assumption they are criminals or illegal immigrants willingly smuggled into the United States. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important that you look beneath the surface of those you encounter or arrest. Doing so might reveal you’re actually dealing with victims of human trafficking. You may have difficulties distinguishing between perpetrators and victims when coming upon crime scenes. Later on in the presentation, we will discuss strategies to identify victims of human trafficking and how to manage them first as victims, then as witnesses.

13 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
Signed into law October 2000 Prior to 2000, no comprehensive law to protect victims of trafficking or to prosecute traffickers Made human trafficking federal crime Goals of law: Prevent human trafficking overseas Increase prosecution of human traffickers in United States Protect victims, provide Federal and state assistance to victims Now that we’ve talked about what human trafficking is and have discussed the myths and realities associated with human trafficking, I want to provide you with an overview of the law that was passed in 2000 to solidify human trafficking as a Federal crime with strict penalties for perpetrators convicted of the crime, and benefits and services for victims of the crime. The TVPA was enacted to deter human trafficking – the fastest growing source of profits for organized crime worldwide. [Refer to the slide for overview of the VTPA 2000]

14 Trafficking Victims Protection Act
Law addresses three key areas: Prevention Public awareness and education Protection T visa, certification, benefits and services to help victims rebuild their lives Prosecution New law enforcement tools and efforts The law authorizes prevention efforts that include public awareness and education programs. Protection and assistance for victims of trafficking under the law includes legal assistance and interpretation, job training and counseling programs. The TVPA establishes a new visa status, the T visa, which allows victims of severe forms of trafficking to become temporary residents of the United States. The T visa signifies a shift in the immigration law policy, which previously treated victims of trafficking as illegal aliens subject to deportation. The T visa is a critical tool as it will help keep victims in the United States legally so they can cooperate with you and serve as witnesses for the prosecution. New law enforcement efforts are now available through the law, making it easier to prosecute traffickers who are identified and convicted of trafficking offenses, which I will talk about more on the next slide. The law makes victims of severe forms of trafficking eligible for benefits and services under Federal or state programs once they become certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Once certified, trafficking victims will be eligible to apply for benefits and services under any Federal or state funded programs, to the same extent as refugees. Certified victims are also eligible for refugee cash, medical assistance and social services. Victims under 18 years of age do not need to be certified in order to be eligible for benefits and services. For these victims, the Department of Health and Human Services issues a “Letter of Eligibility” so that they have proof of eligibility for federally funded and administered benefits and services. Victims of human trafficking who are non-U.S. citizens are eligible to receive benefits and services through the TVPA to the same extent as refugees. Victims who are U.S. citizens, do not need to be certified by HHS and are already eligible to receive many of these benefits.

15 Summary of TVPA Provisions
Creates new laws that criminalize trafficking regarding slavery, involuntary servitude, peonage or forced labor Permits prosecution where non-violent coercion used to force victims to work in belief they would be subject to serious harm Permits prosecution where victim's service compelled by confiscation of documents such as passports or birth certificates Increases prison terms for all slavery violations from 10 years to 20 years; adds life imprisonment where violation involves death, kidnapping, or sexual abuse of victim Requires courts to order restitution, forfeiture of assets upon conviction Enables victims to seek witness protection, other types of assistance Gives prosecutors and agents new tools to get legal immigration status for victims of trafficking during investigation, prosecution TVPA imposes stricter sentences on those convicted of committing crimes of human trafficking. For example, if a trafficking crime results in death or if the crime includes kidnapping, an attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, attempted aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, the trafficker could be sentenced to life in prison. Traffickers who exploit children (under the age of 14) using force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of sex trafficking can be imprisoned for life. If the victim was a child between the age of 14 and 18 and the sex trafficking did not involve force, fraud or coercion, the trafficker could receive up to 20 years in prison. Moreover, the law addresses the subtle means of coercion used by traffickers to bind their victims into servitude, including: psychological coercion, trickery, and the seizure of documents, activities which were difficult to prosecute under preexisting involuntary servitude statutes and case law.

16 TVPA Reauthorized in 2003 Federal government authorized more than $200 million to continue domestic fight against human trafficking New law strengthens legal elements of TVPA Sex and labor trafficking now considered offenses under RICO statute Encourages nation’s 21,000 law enforcement agencies to investigate cases of trafficking In December, the President signed the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act, which authorized more than $200 million to combat the issue of human trafficking, particularly of women and children forced into prostitution. TVPRA provides fresh resources to assist victims of trafficking and even further strengthens the law enforcement tools designed in the original law: TVPRA adds human trafficking to the list of racketeering offenses covered under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Statute) and allows trafficking victims to sue their captors in Federal courts.

17 Texas Anti-Trafficking Law
Chapter 20A of Texas Penal Code Forced labor or services defined: services are obtained by threats of bodily injury; physical restraint; threats to report a person to immigration officials; or withholding a person’s government records, identification or property “Traffic” is defined as “means to transport, entice, recruit, harbor, provide or otherwise obtain another person by any means.” Amended in the last legislative session to get rid of the transportation requirement.

18 TVPA and state law Often traffickers break other state laws such as:
Murder Kidnapping Battery Assault Sexual battery False imprisonment Prostitution Promoting prostitution There are ways for you to use the TVPA to prosecute crimes associated with human trafficking at the state and local levels. Human trafficking crimes involving [Refer to list on slide] can be prosecuted locally.

19 Identifying Crime of Human Trafficking
Non-verbal clues to link to human trafficking: Living conditions of potential victims Physical abuse Working conditions Restriction of movement indicators Behavior indicators of severe dependency Possession of other’s legal documentation Possession of false or fraudulent documentation

20 Identifying Crime of Human Trafficking
Look beneath surface of other crimes and scenarios to expose crimes of human trafficking: Prostitution rings (brothels, escort services, massage parlors) Pornography Illegal operations of massage parlors, strip clubs Domestic abuse Vice raids involving foreign nationals Crimes involving immigrant children with no guardians the biggest challenge for you will be the difficulty of identifying victims of human trafficking. It’s important for you to look beneath the surface of these types of crimes [Refer to list on slide] – crimes you may encounter on a daily basis – to identify victims of human trafficking.

21 Identifying Crime of Human Trafficking
Evidence of control and lack of ability to move freely or leave job Bruises or other signs of physical abuse Intense fear or depression Non-English speaking Little or no knowledge of surrounding community Lack of ID or immigration documents Accompanied by another person who attempts to do all the talking Once you think you have encountered a crime scene involving human trafficking, there are other key factors you’ll need to consider when identifying potential victims and distinguishing them from the real criminals – their traffickers. A person who is trafficked may look like anyone you encounter at a crime scene, but sensitively asking the right questions and looking for small clues will help you identify those people who have been fraudulently induced, forced or coerced into a life of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Look for the following clues: [Refer to list of clues on the slide] You should also take into consideration victims’ cultural and social background as these traits will impact the way victims should be managed as witnesses, as well as the way the investigation of their cases is carried out. Victims may not be able to communicate with you because of language or cultural barriers. Victims often have a fear of being deported. Victims may appear to you as a prostitute or a willing participant in the trafficker’s enterprise. Victims frequently do not self-identify themselves as victims. Victims may display an allegiance to their trafficker/employer.

22 Victims of Trafficking and Their Needs
There are four general areas of victim needs: Immediate assistance Housing, food, medical, safety and security, language interpretation and legal services Mental health assistance Counseling Income assistance Cash, living assistance Legal immigration status T visa or other immigration benefit, certification Victims of human trafficking are vulnerable human beings who have been subjected to severe physical and emotional coercion. These trafficking victims are usually in desperate need of assistance. There are benefits and services available to trafficking victims. And the TVPA authorizes special benefits and services to adult victims who are willing to cooperate in the prosecution of their traffickers and to minor victims regardless of whether they are willing to cooperate. These benefits and services include legal, healthcare, counseling, housing, food, medical, cash and employment assistance.

23 Communicating with Victims of Human Trafficking
Fear of deportation Does not Identify as Victim Distrust of law enforcement Unaware of rights The TVPA authorizes special visas and other forms of immigration relief to certain to trafficking victims. You are a victim, not a criminal. What is happening to you is wrong. We can help get you what you need. We can protect you. You can trust us. You have rights. You have the right to live without being abused. Most victims of trafficking do not self-identify themselves as victims. They assume what they are doing is just a way of life, a way to make a living. They don’t know that what has been done to them is illegal. Victims may project a sense of fear or distrust toward you, which could originate from the negative perceptions of law enforcement in their countries of origin. It’s critical for you to convey that you can protect them and help them to obtain the assistance they need. Most victims will generally be unaware of any rights they may have. From their perspective, they may not think they even have the right to live. Therefore, it’s important for you to tell them they do have rights and that they may be entitled to receive benefits and services to rebuild their lives. These communication tips will help you gain the trust of the victim and will help with the transition from victim to witness.

24 Identifying Victims of Trafficking
Key Questions for Victims of Trafficking: How did you get here? Where do you live, eat and sleep? Do you owe someone money? Is someone keeping your legal/travel documents? Were you threatened if you tried to leave? Has your family been threatened? Were you ever physically abused? Were you ever forced to stay in one place? Who are you afraid of? Should you encounter a person who may be a victim of human trafficking, there are key questions you can ask that may help you to properly identify that person as a victim and can help you build a criminal investigation [refer to list of key questions on slide]. Asking these questions can help you make the distinction between victim and criminal.

25 Immigration Remedies for Trafficking Victims
Continued Presence T visas U visas

26 Continued Presence Temporary permission to remain in the U.S.
Parole/deferred action and employment authorization Must be requested by federal law enforcement agency Designed to keep potential victim in U.S. during investigation Access to public benefits

27 Requirements for T visa
Victim of severe form of trafficking (as defined in TVPA) Present in the U.S. on account of the trafficking Not inadmissible or qualifies for waiver of inadmissibility Adult victims are required to comply with “reasonable requests” to cooperate with law enforcement. Certification by federal law enforcement is helpful, but not required.

28 T Visa Benefits Nonimmigrant status for 4 years, including employment authorization Possible to obtain status for derivative family members Can seek LPR status after 4 years (although regulations still have not been issued) Access to public benefits for temporary period of time

29 U Visas Created in 2000 by the Battered Immigration Women Protection Act of 2000 and amended by VAWA 2005 Regulations effective beginning 10/17/2007 Designed to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting crimes

30 Who qualifies for a U visas?
Available to certain crime victims who: Suffered substantial physical or emotional abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity; Have information regarding the criminal activity; and Assist in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime

31 What crimes are recognized?
One or more of the following or any similar activity: rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes.

32 Who is a victim? Direct Victims: suffered direct harm Indirect victim:
Spouse, legal guardian, parent, child, sibling, another family member, or person designated by the court when the direct victim is deceased incompetent or incapacitated; Parent or legal guardian of victim under the age of 18 Victims of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and/or perjury must show direct or proximate harm and that the perpetrator committed the act to avoid or frustrate efforts to investigate, arrest or prosecute the perpetrator or that the perpetrator committed the act to further abuse, exploit or exercise control over the victim

33 Criminal Activity: Must have violated U.S. law or have occurred in the U.S. (including Indian country and military installations) or the territories and possessions of the U.S. Includes crimes investigated or prosecuted at the Federal, State or local level

34 Role of Law Enforcement for U visas
Requires cooperation with law enforcement (although a criminal prosecution is not necessary) Requires certification from law enforcement stating that applicant has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a qualifying crime Certification and therefore status can be revoked if person stops cooperating w/ authorities Cooperation includes reporting and there will be guidance on that forthcoming.

35 Approved applicants get:
Permission to remain in U.S. up to 4 years Work authorization After 3 years U visa recipients can apply to adjust status Applicants can request derivative status for immediate family members

36 Building Partnerships
Victims are best served when law enforcement, social service providers, and legal service providers work together to help victims recover. This can be achieved through coalitions or by informal networks when agencies identify specific people who handle these kinds of cases.

37 How you can help If you suspect a person is entitled to one of these forms of relief, make a referral to an immigration attorney as soon as possible. For more information on human trafficking resources, or to report suspicious activity, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at  

38 Prevent trafficking by promoting awareness
TRLA is available to conduct trainings for law enforcement, social service providers, health care workers, and other people who may come in contact with trafficking victims and other crime victims. To schedule a training, please contact: Noemi Martinez, Outreach Coordinator

39 Questions For more information contact: Erica Schommer
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. 300 S. Texas Blvd Weslaco, TX 78596 (956)

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