CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte attorney is working to keep a woman he said was forced into slavery in Charlotte from being deported from the United States.
Court documents filed in the federal case said the woman was brought to Charlotte at the age of 16 in 2002.
She was recruited for domestic work in the United States, and her father was reportedly promised that she would receive a salary, housing, food, clothing, would go to school and be given a valid work visa.
Instead she was given a passport that was not in her name and a fraudulent visitor’s visa. She was forced to work 15-hour days, seven days a week. Six years later, she was able to escape.
“It’s happening more often than people think, especially in the Charlotte area,” said the woman’s attorney, P. Mercer Cauley of Cauley Forsyth Law Group
The woman in the case now has a family and recently went to the government seeking a T-Visa. It allows victims of severe trafficking to live, receive services and work legally in the United States for several years. However, the government said no.
Her attorney 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 said.
He said she is now facing deportation, and he wants a federal judge to stop it and review the visa request.
Channel 9 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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