DHS provides immigration options specifically for victims of trafficking through Continued Presence, which is a temporary immigration designation, and T nonimmigrant status, which is a temporary immigration benefit (commonly referred to as the T visa). Both immigration options strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute human trafficking by encouraging victims to engage and cooperate with law enforcement regardless of their immigration status. Another immigration benefit available to certain human trafficking victims is U nonimmigrant status (commonly referred to as the U visa) for victims of certain qualifying crimes, including human trafficking, who are helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity and who meet other specific eligibility requirements.
- is a temporary immigration designation provided to individuals identified by law enforcement as victims of “severe forms of trafficking in persons” who may be potential witnesses. Continued Presence allows trafficking victims to lawfully remain in the U.S. temporarily and work during the investigation into the human trafficking-related crimes committed against them and during any civil action under 18 U.S.C. § 1595 filed by the victims against their traffickers. Continued Presence is initially granted for two years and may be renewed in up to two-year increments. Continued Presence recipients also receive federal benefits and services.
- 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. To qualify for a T visa, an applicant must demonstrate that they (1) are a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons; (2) are physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry on account of trafficking; (3) have complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement, unless they are younger than the age of 18 or unable to cooperate due to trauma suffered; and (4) would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States. T nonimmigrant status is also available for certain qualifying family members of trafficking victims. T nonimmigrants are eligible for employment authorization and certain federal and state benefits and services. T nonimmigrants who qualify may also be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents (obtain a Green Card) and eventually may be eligible for citizenship.
- ) is an immigration benefit that is available to victims of certain qualifying crimes, including human trafficking, who are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity and meet other requirements. The U visa is a tool intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute certain types of crimes, while also protecting crime victims and encouraging them to come forward and assist law enforcement. U nonimmigrant status is valid for 4 years and can be extended in limited circumstances; U nonimmigrants may be able to adjust their status and become lawful permanent residents if they qualify.
Foreign national adults and minors in the United States who have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons are eligible for certain benefits and services under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues Certification Letters, to foreign national adults, and Eligibility Letters, to foreign national minors, in the United States.
- : HHS issues Certification Letters to foreign national adults who have experienced trafficking after receiving notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granting a person Continued Presence, or a T visa, or that a bona fide T visa application has not been denied. Certification Letters let individuals who have experienced trafficking and meet certain eligibility rules apply for the same as refugees.
- : HHS issues Interim Assistance and Eligibility Letters to foreign national minors to allow minors who may have or have experienced human trafficking, and meet certain eligibility rules, to apply for the same as refugees.
A key component of supporting human trafficking survivors includes access to job training and employment assistance. The following examples include agency-specific initiatives that provide employment assistance and resources:
- DOL’s , also known as One Stop Career Centers, offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and similar employment-related services at over 2,400 centers nationwide.
- DOL’s program helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, trains them for meaningful careers, and assists them with obtaining employment.
- DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime funds the that provides training and technical assistance to victim service providers as well as workforce development programs to increase access to quality educational and employment opportunities for survivors of human trafficking.
In addition to the , which is operated by a nongovernmental organization and funded by the federal government, the U.S. government operates human trafficking tip lines that receive calls or messages related to suspected human trafficking cases.
Call federal law enforcement directly to report suspected human trafficking activity and get help:
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, or submit a tip online at . Individuals across the world can report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line. The Tip Line is accessible internationally by calling 1-802-872-6199. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking.
- You may also submit a tip online to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at , or call your local FBI office (you can get their number at ).
Call the following federal government lines for other assistance:
- U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) for cases where labor exploitation may be present but does not rise to the threshold of trafficking.
- U.S. Department of Labor OIG Hotline at 1-202-693-6999 or 1-800-347-3756, firstname.lastname@example.org, or , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report allegations of trafficking committed through fraud in DOL programs, including, but not limited to, the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and PERM. When filing an OIG Hotline complaint, it is not necessary to provide names or any other identifying information.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 1-800-669-4000 from 7:00am to 8:00pm (EST) for information about how workers, including trafficking victims, can file a charge of employment discrimination.