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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Many are victims are forced work in the sex trade,, sweatshops, the fields and private homes. The pay is meager or non-existent and the work and living conditions are exploitative. The Trafficking Victims Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and later amendments to it increase the criminal penalties for traffickers and provides an array of benefits and protections for survivors of human trafficking. The TVPA also allows legal services agencies such as LAFLA to represent trafficking victims without regard to their immigration status.

New* The State Department’s 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report, released on June 17, 2009, documents the scope of this challenge in every country. The report underscores the need to address the root causes of human trafficking -- including poverty, lax law enforcement and the exploitation of women -- and their devastating effects on its victims and their families. 

Immediate Help

If you or someone you know is or has been in a human trafficking situation, please call (888) 428-7581; U.S. Department of Justice, Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Complaint Line (888) 373-7888 and Covenant House Anti-Trafficking Hotline.

Referrals & Resources

Obtaining Legal Immigrant Status

Immigrant survivors of human trafficking can apply for a T visa, an immigration status that allows trafficking victims to live and work in the U.S. for three years. After the three-year period, they can apply for a green card.

To qualify for a T visa, a person must:

  • Be physically present in the U.S. due to a present or past trafficking situation.
  • Comply or have complied with requests for assistance in the investigation and/or prosecution of their trafficker. (This requirement does not apply to children 18 years and younger.)
  • Demonstrate that he/she would suffer “extreme hardship” involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the U.S.

Information for Family Members

Immediate family members of trafficking victims can apply for a T visa as “derivative applicants” if they are:

  • A spouse or minor child of an adult trafficking victim.
  • A spouse, minor child, minor sibling or parent of a trafficking victim who is younger than 18 years old.
  • Family members can make an application for a T visa from the U.S. or abroad.

Benefits Available

LAFLA refers human trafficking clients to local agencies that can help them access a wide array of benefits and services regardless of the victim’s immigration status. Some available benefits include:

  • Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
  • Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA)
  • Mental health counseling
  • Job training and placement
  • English language classes

How to Qualify for Benefits and Services

To obtain representation and benefits, a person over the age of 18 must:

  • Meet the legal definition of a trafficking victim.
  • Be willing to cooperate with law enforcement in prosecuting the traffickers.
  • Have a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certification letter OR a pending application for a T visa.

A person under the age of 18 must:

  • Meet the legal definition of a trafficking victim
  • Have Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eligibility letter OR a pending application for a T visa.

If you or someone you know has been forced into any kind of work, call (800)-630-0459 for more information and help.

General Information

The Trafficking Victims Violence Protection Act (TVPA) defines severe forms of trafficking’ as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for commercial sex that is:

  • Induced by force, fraud, or coercion
  • in which the person is induced to perform such act has not yet reached 18 years of age
  • Forced labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery

Trafficking Victims Violence Protection Act:

  • Protects victims and provide them with necessary benefits once they have escaped traffickers.
  • Prosecutes traffickers by imposing criminal penalties.
  • Prevents trafficking by committing US resources to international anti-trafficking efforts.






LAFLA ’s Immigration and Asian & Pacific Islander Units: :

  • Help noncitizen survivors of human trafficking obtain immigration status under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA).
  • Help survivors of human trafficking access public benefits and obtain employment authorization.
  • Conducts outreach within the Los Angeles and Orange County areas at community and faith based organizations.

Useful Materials

To read these guides, you will need to obtain a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download it from here.

"Three Tales of Slavery in the USA" (comic book)

In Spanish/English (1MB)

In Korean/English (7MB)

In Vietnamese/English (7MB)

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