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Are you a victim of a human trafficker?

If you have come to California from another country by illegal means, the person who helped you cross the border may be implicated in the activity. Although you participated in the situation, there may be circumstances that have turned you into a victim of a crime. In this case, it is important for you to identify yourself as such and seek the assistance of law enforcement in spite of the fear of being deported.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, human smuggling involves the transportation of an immigrant across an international border. A smuggler may take steps to provide you with employment and shield you from law enforcement once you have reached the United States. You should not be under constant surveillance and restriction of movement, though, and the smuggler should allow you to leave the job to look for another if you want to. If not, there is a chance the person who claims to be protecting you from being deported is actually a human trafficker.

Even if you owe money to the person who assisted you in crossing the border illegally, he or she should not withhold your earnings or prevent you from having your own travel or identification documents. You or your family members should not be threatened with harm under any circumstances. Any sexual acts that are a condition of employment are illegal, and a person who coerces or forces an immigrant to perform them is a trafficker. These criminals are violating both federal and international law, so law enforcement officials urge anyone who is a victim to come forward with evidence.

There is a visa that may be available to those who assist in the investigation and capture of a human trafficker, as well as protection from any threat of violence that person may have promised. Although this information was provided to help you understand the difference between human smuggling and human trafficking, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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