Attorney Alfredo Estrada recently was successful in gaining approval by USCIS of a “T-Visa” for his client. Attorney Estrada worked with local police agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to prove that his client was trafficked for purpose of slave labor when the client was a child. The case involved a type of “debt bondage” where his client was forced to work to “repay” a debt to the trafficker. However, the client was a minor and never was actually able to repay the debt because the trafficker kept the amount owed in secret and kept adding on new “expenses.”
The T nonimmigrant status is a temporary immigration benefit that enables certain victims of a severe form of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. Under federal law, a “severe form of trafficking” is:
- Sex trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, solicits, patronizes, or obtains a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; or
- Labor trafficking: When someone recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Alfredo stated “It’s horrible that human trafficking is an issue that still exists. I am glad I was able to assist my client in moving past this horrific time of his life and maybe see some recovery through his new legal status.”