MIAMI, FL 10/24/2011 -- The U.S. government offers roughly 5,000 visas a
year to illegal immigrants who agree to testify against the traffickers who brought them to this country and then forced them into prostitution or other servitude. But in the first eight months of this year, only 524 victims applied for the visas and less than half were issued.
Officials say they want to raise awareness about predatory human traffickers and put them in prison. U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services officials are conducting a national tour, speaking to immigrant advocates and law enforcement officials about the visa program.
But they face the challenge of convincing illegal immigrants to come forward when sentiment against them is on the rise, and the Obama administration is touting a record number of deportations over the past year.