Date of Degree

9-2022

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

International Migration Studies

Advisor

Monica Varsanyi

Subject Categories

Immigration Law

Keywords

T Visa, Victims of Human Trafficking, Forms of Immigration Relief, TVPA, LEA, Legal Representation

Abstract

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) is a contemporary effort to combat human trafficking. In 2000, the Congress enacted the T Nonimmigrant Status (or T visa) in the effort to protect victims of trafficking and to enhance law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prevent these crimes in the U.S. This thesis explores from a legal and social point of view the obstacles, hurdles, and challenges that victims of human trafficking face, when applying for a T visa. I find that (1) victims assess their exploitation as wrong and immoral but not amounting to human trafficking, thus they are less likely to apply for a T visa though they are eligible for one; (2) law enforcement agencies lack resources and training to deal with circumstances of sex and labor trafficking; and (3) attorneys fail to detect the components of trafficking in person. These circumstances all stand in the way of victims accessing protections and benefits of the T visa.

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