New ICE policy to fight human trafficking

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)
will change its migratory policy by supporting undocumented
immigrants who have been victims of crimes in the U.S., instead of
deporting them.

ICE´s new
policy is designed to enhance the ability of victims of human
trafficking by assisting them with their cooperation during
investigations and reducing false claims from smugglers which may
interfere with efforts to fight other crimes. In recent years, there
have been many human trafficking instances where smugglers falsely
claimed to be victims so they could avoid criminal prosecution or
deportation.


“This policy update facilitates victim cooperation with law
enforcement, enhances ICE’s criminal investigative efforts, and
promotes trust in ICE agents and officers enforcing our laws. It
is ICE’s commitment to assist victims of crime regardless of
their immigration status.” Tae Johnson, Interim ICE Director
said in a statement.

The prohibition of human trafficking in the United States is as old
as the Constitution, thanks to Title 18, section 1584 which outlaws
making someone work against their will and Section 1581 that makes
it illegal to be a part of “debt servitude”.

The Continued Presence

On July 2021, the U.S. government issued the Continued Presence
Resource Guide, which provides the Continued Presence (CP) status to
human trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement in the
form of a temporary immigration designation that allows them to
lawfully remain and work within American borders during an
investigation into their traffickers’ crimes, as well as any civil
action they may take against those perpetrators.

Victims of human trafficking may be eligible to apply for a T Visa,
which is an immigration benefit that can provide protection in the
United States and lead towards lawful permanent residence. If your
request has been approved, then you will have permission from USCIS
or another qualified authority to stay in this country legally for
up to four years at a time. Family members may come to the US as
well.

According to statistics from World Population Review, approximately
199,000 incidents occur within the United States every year, with
California leading among US states. In 2019 alone there were 1,507
cases reported by law enforcement officers and NGOs; 71% of these
(1,118 cases) were for sex trafficking, 158 were labor related, and
69 for sexual exploitation offenses combined with forced or coerced
labor crimes. 1290 were female victims (71%), 149 male victims
(<1%). </p>