Human Trafficking and Visa Fraud

January is “Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” From the FBI’s News page (…

Scientology brings people from other countries under fraudulent pretexts to do menial labor, confiscates their passports, and calls them religious workers.  Tony Ortega covers this today –  The Church of Scientology has applied for 3,447 religions worker visas since 2009.  Mostly from Russia and Italy, followed by Mexico, Hungary, Taiwan, and Canada.  They mostly end up at Flag in Clearwater.


It is illegal to take away someone’s passport:

The State Department said in 2013:  It is illegal in the US, and most UN member countries, for any nongovernment agency to insist you hand over your passport for ‘safe keeping’. If you hand it over so they can ‘record information’ and they refuse to return it to you, that is also illegal. Such actions should be reported by foreign nationals to the nearest consulate, embassey, or the police/FBI if there is no consulate or embassy in the area. US citizens who have their passport ‘confiscated’ should report it to the State Department Passport Division and/or the police or FBI. What Cof$ is doing is a serious breach of the law regarding passports.

ICE office said today:  Once a foreign traveler arrives in the U.S., they should keep their passport and other travel documents in a safe place, where you can access it at all times! It is illegal for an employer, including a church with R-1 employees, to take their passport away from them. If the employer is a tax exempt organization, confiscating passports is an illegal activity that can put their tax exempt status at risk.

Definition of Trafficking in Persons: 

Trafficking in Persons is defined as:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • 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.

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Orsomeone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

Also this is a short book on the experience of a Mom and her teenager brought to Flag from Russia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: