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What is an OTIP Letter and How Can Advocates Utilize It to Help Unaccompanied Children?

The Office of Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) helps unaccompanied children who have been victims of human trafficking by issuing OTIP letters, which grant access to many benefits. OTIP letters may be unknown to advocates new to detained work, but they are an extremely useful tool. Advocates should screen for OTIP eligibility for every detained child with whom they work.

Final Thoughts

While an OTIP letter does not confer protection from removal, it can go a long way in benefitting an unaccompanied child. Advocates should keep an open mind to various trafficking scenarios and use their creativity and legal writing skills to convey the child’s story to OTIP. An OTIP grant can also be used as evidence in a T Visa application that at least one government agency versed in human trafficking has found that a child has met two of the necessary elements for a T Visa. Most importantly for kids without sponsor options, OTIP letters can get those kids out of short-term ORR care into long term supportive URM placements.