Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Tala Hartsough


Trafficking in persons is a global trade sustained by the profits from forced labor. Human traffickers exploit poverty, disparate female rights and emergent political situations. Trafficking violates the human rights of people who are bought and sold, enslaved by debt bondage schemes, and manipulated by contracts. Increasingly, these human commodities end up in the United States. The U.S. government recognized the gravity of the situation by enacting the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This note examines how the Act protects victims and trafficking, and suggests an alternative route to protection under U.S. asylum jurisprudence. It examines trafficking in the United States, its historical context and underlying causes. Trafficking is placed within the understanding of slavery in the modem world and addresses definitional issues that must precede any attempts to remedy this crisis. While the Act attempts to protect trafficked individuals ,vith immigration alternative, namely the T visa, survivors of trafficking may better served with the pre-existing protections of asylum.