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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

USCIS Combats Human Trafficking

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Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Every year, thousands of innocent men, women, and children are exploited in human trafficking schemes around the world and right here in the United States. Victims are often lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs and a better life. They are instead forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory work, or other types of forced labor.

At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), we support the DHS Blue Campaign’s efforts to combat human trafficking by helping to protect victims of these horrible crimes. USCIS provides immigration relief in the form of T visas and U visas, which allow victims to remain in the United States and assist in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. These visas also provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence and permit certain family members to join them in the United States.

Earlier this month, Secretary Napolitano met Shiyma Hall, a brave young woman who was forced into domestic servitude when she was 9 years old. Today, Shiyma is free, and through the immigration benefits provided by USCIS, she is now a United States citizen. USCIS recently unveiled new resources and produced a video to highlight the immigration benefits available to victims of crime.

In addition, we provide regular Web-based trainings for law enforcement officials, and have provided more than 30 in-person trainings on combating human trafficking and the immigration benefits available for victims to Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials nationwide. We also contributed to the DHS U Visa Law Enforcement Certification Resource Guide, a new tool available to law enforcement officials to support investigations and prosecutions.

Given the sensitive nature of cases surrounding victims’ protection, USCIS implemented confidentiality safeguards for individuals with applications associated with Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions or T or U nonimmigrant petitions.

For more information on the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, visit or In an emergency, call 911.  To report human trafficking call the ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423, and for related questions or to speak to a non-governmental representative, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.