Visa Holders Vulnerable to Human Trafficking

The following content was drawn from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center monthly newsletter. For more information, please call the NHTRC at 1-888-373-7888, text the short code BeFree (233733), or visit the NHTRC at traffickingresourcecenter.org.

Many of the victims of human trafficking spoken to at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center arrive in the United States with temporary work visas, and are trafficked by recruiters, labor contractors, employers and others.

These visa holders are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking because their legal status in the U.S. is tied directly to the employer who sponsors their visa. For visa holders who are victims of trafficking, they may be reluctant to seek help, report a dangerous work situation, or leave their job.  For traffickers, it is an easy opportunity to exploit workers, as the traffickers are aware that if the worker leaves the job and stays in the United States, he or she will lose valid immigration status.  For agricultural workers, rural work can mean isolation and lack of transportation and access to services. For domestic workers, long hours, controlled communication and physical isolation make it difficult to reach out for help.  In all cases, language and cultural barriers can present hurdles for victims.

To understand the scope of trafficking cases across the United States, we are sharing National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Human Trafficking and Visas Report.  This report, covering more than six years of NHTRC data, is a snapshot into the industries, visas, and nationalities of victims affected by human trafficking.

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