Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Women, men, and children can be victims of human trafficking.

People experience human trafficking in different ways. Sometimes a trafficker makes false promises to a person about a good job, marriage or better opportunities. Later the trafficker does not follow through on these promises and forces the person to do other work, like prostitution.

Sometimes coyotes or bosses force workers to work to pay off debts and threaten them with violence, the police, or immigration. In some instances, victims of human trafficking are abducted or they are sold by a coyote to another individual.

Signs of human trafficking:

1. You are forced to work to pay off a debt

2. You are forced to work through threats of violence, deportation, or jail

3. You are forced to prostitute yourself or to engage in pornography

4. You are forced to have sex or suffer from physical abuse

5. You are physically confined or have no freedom to change jobs or to move freely

6. You are isolated from other people or are hidden from other community members

7. Your personal identification documents are taken from you 

Some trafficking victims might be able to apply for the T-Visa (Trafficking Visa) through the Victims of Trafficking Prevention Act of 2000. Trafficking victims may qualify for other services and assistance as well.

When Rosa first heard about an opportunity to come and work in the US, she didn't want to leave her family in Oaxaca, Mexico. Then she was told that she would earn in a few months in the US what it took her years to earn in Mexico. She began making plans to leave. The coyote charged her a lot of money to get her across the border and told her that she would pay him back when she was earning good money in the US. After walking across the desert, she and others were taken to a house where they were locked inside for several days. Someone was watching over them at all times to make sure they didn't escape. After she was transported to Georgia to work at a tomato farm, the coyote told her that the price had gone up and she owed him more money. Even though she worked very hard, she couldn't pay him back. Most of the money she earned went only to pay her debt. They worked long hours. The coyote and his associates carried weapons and threatened Rosa and the other workers to make them work harder and to keep them there. Rosa and other workers finally escaped from the farm. What Rosa experienced is called human trafficking and it is illegal. She has helped the government investigate these crimes and has obtained work authorization through a T-visa.