Chapter

Victim or Criminal: The Experiences of a Human-Trafficking Survivor in the U.S. Immigration System

Leticia M. Saucedo

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252493.003.0056
Victim or Criminal: The Experiences of a Human-Trafficking Survivor in the U.S. Immigration System

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In 2004, “Mae,” a Chinese woman who was a victim of human trafficking, was detained by the U.S. federal government for passport fraud as she tried to enter the United States through an international airport in the Southwest. Mae was incarcerated for several months in a contract detention center run by the local police department. The author of this chapter joined forces with students at the Thomas and Mack Legal Clinic in the law school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to represent Mae in her claims for asylum and release from detention. All of them witnessed the ways in which U.S. society increasingly equates the immigrant experience with criminality. The restrictive parameters and hostile attitudes of the immigration system encourage prosecution of immigrants rather than the determination of asylee status. In this chapter, the author tells the story of Mae, who became hideously vulnerable because of her immigrant status, her gender and youth, her poverty, and her distance from allies and family and familiar culture and language.

Keywords: United States; human trafficking; immigration; criminality; detection; immigrants; asylum; poverty; gender

Chapter.  2320 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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