Currently, there are more than 19 million immigrant women and girls living in the United States. Worldwide, violence against women is commonplace, as in many nations women are still considered to be inferior to men and in some countries, are still considered property. Globally, females are at an increased risk or violence, abuse, and trafficking. When women or families immigrate to the United States, immigration status can be used as leverage for perpetrators to inflict violence on women, knowing that their options for seeking help or retaliation are severely limited, especially if they are dependent on the relationship to gain citizenship as a family member to the abusive sponsor, or if they are here illegally.
Abusive spouses can exploit immigration status and the threat of deportation and loss of child custody if their victim seeks help or attempts to leave the situation. Additionally, many immigrants are made to feel as though the American justice system is against them or looking for a reason for deportation. It is for these reasons that immigrant women and girls are at a significantly higher risk for abuse and exploitation. Additionally, those women who are in the United States illegally may not be able to find viable employment and are financially dependent on their abusers.
There are a staggering number of women and girls who are brought to the United States as part of human trafficking. These females are forced to work under threat of deportation and physical harm to themselves or family members. Some of these women come willingly and are tricked into situations of indentured servitude and some are simply coerced, sold, or kidnapped into trafficking. Escaping from these conditions can be difficult for many reasons and concerns of being deported are among the top ranking.