More than 27 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking, one of the fastest growing crimes. While it is largely about sexual exploitation, human trafficking also involves labor exploitation. Most of those who fall prey are victimized by people they trust. The aim of the Human Trafficking Awareness Month is to put an end to human trafficking.
A 2012 film Eden, is about a suburban teenage girl named Eden who is kidnapped from her hometown in New Mexico and forced into prostitution. She is taken to a place outside Las Vegas where several girls like her live in punishing conditions. Eden is beaten, raped and tortured. Clients who visit the girls are businessmen and politicians, belonging to all levels of American society. Eden finds her way out by convincing the trafficking ringleaders that she is loyal to them and she saves herself by selling other women.
The movie Eden is based on the real life story of a human trafficking survivor, Chong Kim. Kim stated that she is not the only one but that there are thousands of girls still in the same position. Kim is now a noted crusader against sex-trafficking.
U.S. Department of Defense stated that it is training its employees on what is human trafficking and creating awareness among its employees about trafficking and slavery. Advocacy group Polaris Project says those who involve in human trafficking exploit others through forced sex and labor and benefit through that. They believe that they can make money easily without getting caught.
Not only are foreign nationals victimized by traffickers, U.S. citizens are also being subject to injustices of human trafficking. Trafficking occurs in almost all industries including brothels, hotels, massage parlors, hospitality, janitorial services, agriculture, manufacturing and domestic service. More than 70 percent of the victims of human trafficking are women and children.
Some human traffickers promise foreign nationals that they will get them better lives in the U.S. and bring them into the country illegally. Once they come here, those traffickers use the immigration status of the victims to threaten them. However, these victims can report crimes to the police and cooperate with the investigation of the crimes. Such victims will be allowed to remain in the U.S. They do not have to worry that they will be removed from the country if they come out and report crimes.
USCIS helps these victims stay in the country by granting them T or U nonimmigrant visas. Victims of human trafficking who are willing to help the law enforcement authorities to investigate crimes can apply for these visas. They do not have to pay any application fees. USCIS issues 5000 T nonimmigrant visas and 10,000 U nonimmigrant visas every year to the victims of trafficking, domestic violence and other crimes. Victims of trafficking can also apply for a status called Continued Presence (CP) with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will allow them to stay back in the U.S. and help the police to investigate crimes committed against them.