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May 26, 2016

King & Spalding Pro Bono Team Secures Visa Victory for Human Trafficking Victim

LONDON and WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 2016 Lawyers in King & Spalding’s London and Washington, D.C., offices this month succeeded in obtaining a T-Visa for a victim of human trafficking, in a case that highlights the long struggles of trafficking victims.

The victim, known as Jane Doe #5, met now-convicted human trafficker Eleuterio Granados-Hernandez in Puebla, Mexico, in 2009. She was 17 years old. Granados-Hernandez smuggled her to New York shortly after she turned 18 and, three months after her arrival in the U.S., he insisted she work as a prostitute. When she refused, Granados-Hernandez physically assaulted her several times. Fearing more violence, Jane Doe #5 worked for Granados-Hernandez as a prostitute until 2010.

Granados-Hernandez was captured after a joint effort between U.S. and Mexican authorities and, in 2014, he was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for trafficking five victims, including Jane Doe #5. The sentence was announced by now-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who was then the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Lynch noted that Granados-Hernandez preyed on young women with the intent to force them into a degrading life of sexual slavery, disregarding their dignity, solely to line his own pockets. Lynch extended her appreciation to the organizations that provided services and advocacy to the victims in the case, including King & Spalding. She noted that the sentence sent a message to other would-be traffickers that “we are committed to eradicating the sex trafficking of young girls.”

King & Spalding continued to represent Jane Doe #5 on a pro bono basis in matters concerning her T-Visa application following Granados-Hernandez’s conviction. The T-Visa, or T Nonimmigrant Status, was created for victims of human trafficking, allowing them to remain in the U.S. to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. The granting of T-Visa status can lead to permeant residency.

“We are pleased that the victim has been granted T-Visa status,” said King & Spalding counsel Sarah Vasani. “After having survived a nightmare at the hands of her trafficker, we hope this victory will provide her with the basis to start a new chapter in her life.”

The King & Spalding team that represented Jane Doe #5 was led by Vasani in London and associate Luke Fields in Washington, D.C., with London associate Darshna Patel assisting on the case. The firm’s pro bono counsel, Josh Toll, provided important input throughout the case.

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