Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Citizenship and Alien Status




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The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons” as:


·        Sex trafficking


The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.


·        Labor trafficking


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.


Victims of Trafficking are eligible for benefits to the same extent as refugees/aslyees.  To be potentially eligible for Families First benefits:


·        All adult victims of a severe form of trafficking must be certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at Health and Human Services.  HSS may certify as an adult victim of trafficking one who:


-         Is a victim of a severe form of trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)


-         Is willing to assist in every reasonable way in the investigation and prosecution of the trafficking case.


-         Has made a bona fide application for a “T visa.”


-         Has received continued presence status from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services in order to contribute to the prosecution of human traffickers.


Note: The “T visa” is specifically designed for certain human trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement against those responsible for their enslavement.  The statute allows victims to remain in the United States if it is determined that such victims could suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if returned to their home countries.  After three years in T status, trafficking victims may apply for permanent residency.


Adult victims of trafficking are not required to provide any documentation of their immigration status.  Instead, ORR will make certification determinations and issue certification letters for adults who meet the certification requirements.  Only ORR is authorized to issue these certifications


Child (under 18) victims of trafficking do not need to be certified in order to receive benefits.  ORR will issue “letters of eligibility” for children.


·        Accept the adult certification letter or letter of eligibility for children as proof of a status that confers potential eligibility for benefits.


·        Call the trafficking verification line at 1-866-401-5510 for verification before providing benefits. 


·        During this verification phone call, notify ORR of the benefits for which the trafficking victim has applied.


·        Do not call SAVE to confirm eligibility as SAVE does not have information on trafficking victims.


·        Do not deny an application due to difficulty confirming identity.  Call the trafficking verification line at for assistance.


·        The entry date for victims of trafficking is the certification date which appears in the body of the certification letter for adults and the letter for children.  Bulletin 35, FA-07-16



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