“Human Trafficking and Protections for Undocumented Victims in the United States,” David A. Shirk and Alexandra T. Webber, annotated bibliography

Norito Hagino

There are two types of human trafficking according to the authors: forced labor and commercial sex. Human traffickers target undocumented migrants by promising “safe passage” and “employment” in the U.S. and later exploit them for commercial sex and forced labor. It is difficult to combat human trafficking in the U.S. For example, authority goes into a prostitute ring that uses and holds human trafficking victims in custody but the traffickers escape (pg. 172). In most cases, the victims will not give any information about the traffickers because they fear punishment. They will be deported immediately.

In order to prevent this dilemma, the government initiated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). This grants a T-visa to victims of severe form of human trafficking. The T-visa gives an individual a temporary non-immigration status and public benefits (food, insurance, housing, etc.). This is beneficial for the government in the sense that the victims will have time to assist in the prosecution of their traffickers. However, the weakness of the TVPA is that even though it allows 5000 T-visas to be passed per year but only about 150 is passed every year (pg. 176). Furthermore, the conditions for an undocumented immigrant to be passed for a T-visa are too strict, according to the authors. It is argued that numerical estimates and types of human trafficking cases must be re-evaluated by the government, at the same time reconsidering the criteria at which undocumented immigrants are passed for T-visas (pg. 181). The government’s actions of the TVPA and T-visa are new steps towards legalizing illegal immigrants in the U.S. but it can be said that at this point, the program is still incomplete.

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