|Legal Services Corporation
America's Partner For Equal Justice
Program Letter 02-5
John N. Erlenborn
Board of Directors
Douglas S. Eakeley
LaVeeda M. Battle
Hulett H. Askew
John N. Erlenborn
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (Pub. L. No. 106-386)
allows for the victims of trafficking to be eligible for legal services
without regard to their immigration status. Section 107 (b)(1)(B).
trafficking of women, children, and men for sex crimes, sweatshop labor,
involuntary domestic servitude, and migrant agricultural labor is
estimated to affect 50,000 persons in the United States. Congress enacted this law in October 2000 to address this problem.
intends to incorporate the statutory provision regarding legal services
for victims of trafficking into its alien eligibility regulations, 45 C.F.
R. part 1626, and is in the process of doing so. In the interim, pursuant to this statutory provision, recipients
may represent victims of trafficking without regard to their immigration
are “victims of trafficking”?
The statute encompasses victims who are trafficked by force or
fraud into the commercial sex industry as well as those individuals who
are exploited for their labor. Specifically, victims of trafficking are
defined as persons who have been subject to sex trafficking in which a
commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which
the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of
age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining
of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or
coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage,
debt bondage, or slavery.
Persons covered by the Act must meet the definition of a victim of
trafficking and be under 18 years of age or “subject to certification”
under the Act.
does an adult trafficking victim become certified under the Act?
The certification process includes applying for a special
immigration visa and obtaining a certification letter from the Department
of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
can programs determine whether ORR has issued a certification letter?
ORR has established a trafficking verification line at (202)
401-5510. ORR can also
provide specific guidance on obtaining certification letters.
Further, while victims of trafficking under 18 years of age do not
need to be certified under the Act to receive benefits, ORR plans to issue
certification letters to child victims.
should programs verify a victim’s eligibility for legal services?
A trafficking victim seeking legal assistance should submit her
certification letter as documentation of her eligibility for legal
services. In the absence of
the certification letter, the intake worker should verify the trafficking
victim’s status by calling the phone number listed above and noting the
call in the casefile.
legal services programs represent trafficking victims with the
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