Another type of evaluation I often perform are human trafficking assessments (T Visas). In conducting these evaluations, I hear stories of people who were lured to the United States with promises of a brighter future and lucrative job opportunities. However, once they arrive in the United States, they are essentially enslaved. New to the United States and usually with very limited English and no knowledge of the geographic area or resources available to them, these undocumented immigrants are afraid to try to escape their situation.
Most recently I have done several evaluations for people brought to the U.S. as “babysitters”. They are confined to the home, not paid and in many instances they are not even provided the basic necessities like sufficient food, a bed to sleep on or a change of clothing. They are often verbally abused and belittled. In some cases the immigrant also faces physical or sexual abuse.
The emotional impact of such treatment is usually substantial. These clients have come to the U.S, because in their country of origin they were impoverished and without opportunities. They were willing to endure the separation from their loved ones and the life they understood in the hope of achieving financial stability. To then be confined and controlled, often over years of time, unpaid or minimally paid, these victims frequently internalize a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. They feel isolated and alone, and usually fall into a state of depression and despair.
My evaluations help to prove the significant long-term emotional impact these clients endure. Although the clients I meet with have escaped from their confinement, many live with chronic depression and low self-esteem. With the support of my clinical evaluation to add strength to their legal case, these clients hope for better prospects in the U.S. if and when they obtain their documentation. This is often the one hope that keeps them going, striving for a future where they have the opportunity to be paid for honest work.