IM-134 07/24/01 THE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT OF 2000
|THE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT OF 2000|
|The Trafficking Victims Protection Act
of 2000, makes adults eligible for benefits and services to the same extent
as refugees, if they have been certified by U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services as victims of severe forms of trafficking. Victims
of severe forms of trafficking who are under 18 years of age are also eligible
for benefits to the same extent, as refugees but do not need to be certified.
To give some background of what this means, an estimated 700,000 persons, primarily women and children, are trafficked worldwide each year. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked annually into the United States along with an unknown number of men. Traffickers force their victims into the international sex trade, prostitution, slavery and forced labor through coercion, threats of physical violence, psychological abuse, torture and imprisonment. To deter these crimes, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in October 2000. The law aims to combat trafficking through increased law enforcement, to ensure effective punishment of traffickers, to protect victims and to provide Federal State assistance to victims.
HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been delegated the authority to conduct certifications. At this time, ORR will issue certification letters to victims of trafficking who meet the certification requirements. ORR also will issue similar letters for children who have been subjected to trafficking.
To receive a certification, a victim of trafficking must be willing to assist with the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases AND either (1) have made a bona fide application for a T visa OR (2) be an individual whose continued presence the Attorney General is ensuring to effectuate a trafficking prosecution.
DFS will not need to conduct any certification activities.
Applications for Benefits
When a victim of trafficking applies for
benefits, caseworkers should follow the normal procedures for refugees
1) Accept the original certification letter or letter for
2) Call the trafficking verification line at (202) 401-5510
3) Note the "entry date" for refugee benefits purposes.
4) Issue benefits to the same extent as a refugee, provided
5) Record the expiration dates of the certification letterVictims of trafficking may not possess standard identity documents, such as driver's licenses or social security cards. Do not automatically deny the applications but call the trafficking verification line at (202)401-5510 for assistance.
Individuals without Certification
If caseworkers encounter an individual that they believe may meet the definition in the Act, they should call Michael Jewell at (202)401-4561, Neil Kromash at (202)401-5702 or Arnetta Williams (202)401-5622. If a child that is believed to be subjected to a severe form of trafficking, caseworkers should call Loren Bussert at (202)401-4732.
Call Debbie Bower-Hazlett in Central Office
at 573/751-9488 if you need further assistance.