CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina attorney is working to keep a woman he said was forced into slavery 18 years ago in Charlotte from being deported from the United States.
Court documents filed in the federal case said the woman was brought to Charlotte in 2002, when she was 16, WSOC-TV reported.
The woman now has a family and recently went to the government seeking a T-Visa, the television station reported. It allows victims of severe trafficking to live, receive services and work legally in the United States for several years. However, the government turned down her request.
The woman’s attorney, P. Mercer Cauley of Charlotte, said officials alleged she was no longer in the United States due to trafficking.
“There is a visa that is available, and in this case the government said, ’yes, you were trafficked, you were a victim, but because of this technicality -- and we’re changing the rule on you -- we’re not going to give you the visa,” Cauley told WSOC.
Cauley said his client is now facing deportation, and he wants a federal judge to stop it and review the visa request, the television station reported.
According to WSOC, the woman was recruited for domestic work in the United States, and her father was reportedly promised that she would receive a salary, housing, food and clothing. She would be allowed to attend school and would be given a valid work visa.
Instead, she was given a passport that was not in her name and a fraudulent visitor’s visa, WSOC reported. She was forced into 15-hour workdays, seven days a week. Six years later, she was able to escape,the television station reported.
“It’s happening more often than people think, especially in the Charlotte area,” Cauley said.
WSOC emailed the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Office for comment. A spokesperson said, “USCIS will not release any information in cases like this due to privacy and confidentiality protections.”
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