Each state has its own labor office, which is responsible for state labor law compliance. In addition to detecting and investigating human trafficking, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, these agencies may investigate other workplace crimes and refer them for criminal prosecution if appropriate. For example, under California law, if an employer threatens to report immigration status or suspected immigration status to obtain the worker’s property, it may constitute criminal extortion, a qualifying crime for a U visa.
Examples of State Agencies Enforcing Labor Trafficking Laws
• New York DOL: Memorandum and Order Regarding Certification of U Visa Petitions
• Illinois DOL: Memorandum on Obtaining U Visas in Investigated Cases
• California DFEH: Completing U Visa Certifications in DFEH Cases
• California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement: U Visa Certification Memo
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides links to state labor laws, including those that address minimum wage and child labor laws. Because there may be some intersection between task force and state activit
ies, task forces should become familiar with their state labor counterparts that can investigate and file complaints on behalf of victims. Some examples of state agencies that enforce labor trafficking laws but also have U visa or T visa law enforcement certification policies include the New York DOL (Division of Immigrant Policies and Affairs), Illinois DOL, California Department of Fair Labor Employment and Housing (DFEH), and California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
For additional information and tools, see the Resource page for Section 3.1, Task Force Membership and Management.