- United States
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is on a campaign to spread awareness among victims of human trafficking in the country. The U.S immigration department has taken matters into its own hands to remove fears of victims of human trafficking from the local law enforcement agencies. USCIS officials were on a visit to Centennial, Colorado, to promote the campaign.
The campaign includes educating the country’s law enforcement agencies and the general public about the ways in which they could deal with victims, who are illegally in the U.S, to help them and to convince them to trust the police and other federal agencies.
District director of USCIS, Robert Mather, said that the United States was full of such victims who abstain from seeking help of any law enforcement agency due to fear of being deported. Mather said that the victims are unable to flee from their captors due to this fear and have to live in conditions of pain and anguish. He said that the agency has decided to eliminate this ignorance from the minds of these victims.
“While this is a national effort, it is also a local initiative. Often victims of human trafficking are coerced into believing police should be feared and that deportation is the ultimate result of escape.” Mather said.
John Suthers, the Colorado Attorney general, said that the issue was right up their alley. He said that the state, along with rest of the United States, was home to many victims who, due to this fear, abstain from assisting the law to apprehend the smugglers. “It [the fear of law enforcement] is a problem in Colorado and the rest of the country,” Suthers stated.
Scott Whelan, adjudications officer at USCIS, provided some information about the special visa programs for such victims.
“Part of the education campaign includes providing information about ‘two’ protective visas for which victims may be eligible.” Whelan said.
Whelan said that the two categories of the protective visas covered different types of victims. Victims of severe forms of Human smuggling can avail category T non-immigrant visas to stay in the United States. This visa allows these victims to stay in the country for a maximum period of 4 years, if they agree to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies in investigations and persecutions of the smugglers.
Those victims who have been physically and/or mentally harmed and tortured as a result of any criminal activity are eligible for Category U non-immigrant visas. Similar to the T category, these victims must also assist the law in apprehending their captors.
Moreover, victims applying for the any of the above visas must not have any criminal record. If any such record is found, the victims must obtain a waiver of admissibility form the relevant authorities. Both the visas can and will be rescinded if the U.S immigration department discovers a fraud or any other unlawful issue on the part of victims.
Human trafficking is a serious problem in the U.S, which the USCIS and the U.S immigrations and Customs department (ICE) have been facing for quite a long time now. The primary motive of the smuggler is, usually, to exchange or lease the victims for labour or sex acts. Under the U.S law, adult human trafficking is a class 2 felony if its victims are illegally in the country; otherwise it is a class 3 felony. Trafficking children is also a class 2 felony. Agencies throughout the U.S are working day and night to find absolute solutions to immigration related problems like these that the country is facing.
Tags: Illegal immigrants, Immigration, United States, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, US Immigration, US immigrations and Customs department, victims of human trafficking