ORANGE, Calif., February 9, 2012 – Chapman University’s Family Violence Clinic was granted its first trafficking visa (“T visa”) for a victim of human trafficking. A T visa is a form of immigration relief granted to victims of a severe form of human trafficking.  The T visa allows trafficking victims to legally remain in the United States under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

The victim in this case, a subsistence rice farmer in Thailand, was lured to the United States with the promise of well-paid, steady farm work, then forced to work on farms, under harsh living and working conditions, for little or no pay.  Under the T visa, the victim may remain in the United States legally and pursue legal action against his traffickers.  His wife and children are permitted to join him, and all will have an opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residence and eventually citizenship. 

“The Family Violence Clinic is thrilled to have received this T visa for our client.  He was victimized, threatened on daily basis, and lost his sense of dignity.  With the T visa, he can begin to rebuild a safe life for himself and his family free from his traffickers in Thailand.” said Clinic staff attorney Neda Sargordan (’07) who represented this client. “Our clinic law students have filed several more T visa petitions with the government and we are hopeful that they will be approved, as well.”

In 2007, Chapman University School of Law created the Family Violence Clinic to address the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence and other crimes. Located at the Anaheim Family Justice Center, the clinic is directed by Chapman professor Marisa Cianciarulo, a veteran immigration lawyer and legal clinician. The clinic offers free assistance in immigration and protection order matters for clients who meet income eligibility requirements.

“Here, you will find a lower income neighborhood with a high population of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, South America, Asia and the Middle East,” said Professor Cianciarulo. “Life is not easy or safe, and when domestic violence enters the picture and the victims are undocumented immigrants, options are few. Our goal since opening in 2007 is to help this particular demographic.”  Thanks to funding secured by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the Clinic was able to expand its services to include victims of human trafficking.

More information on Chapman University’s Family Violence Clinic can be found at

In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was enacted into law, as the first Federal law to protect victims of human trafficking or to prosecute their traffickers. The TVPA has three main goals: to prevent human trafficking overseas; to protect victims and help them rebuild their lives in the United States; and the prosecute traffickers of persons under still Federal penalties. The law also established the “T visa,” which allows victims of trafficking to become temporary citizens of the United States.  There are 18,000 to 20,000 victims of human trafficking who are trafficked into the United States every year, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.  A nine-billion dollar industry, human trafficking ranks second after drug smuggling and is tied with arms dealing in organized criminal activity.

For more information on human trafficking visit

Consistently ranked among the top universities in the West, Chapman University provides a uniquely personalized and interdisciplinary educational experience to highly qualified students. Our programs encourage innovation, creativity and collaboration, and focus on developing global citizen-leaders who are distinctively prepared to improve their community and their world. For more information visit

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