Freedom and Hope for a Survivor of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking claims victims every day, and we have seen so many here at Just Neighbors. Recently, another trafficking survivor was referred to us for help.

At nineteen, Mei was living with her impoverished family in China with no work opportunities for her to help them or herself.  Looking for a better way, she was lured by the promise of training and work in the USA.  When she arrived, she got neither and ended up in a shelter in Maryland.  But it did not take long for another ‘promise’ which brought her to Virginia where she was forced to work i.e., she was trafficked, as a ‘masseuse’.   Without proper documentation, she could find no other way of life.

Seeking help from the life that she never asked for, Mei was referred by a Baltimore shelter to Just Neighbors. Normally our clients are persons living in Northern Virginia, but we do take clients from Maryland and Washington when sex trafficking victims are being trafficked into our area.

Mei found compassion, support and legal assistance here at Just Neighbors.

Our attorneys determined that she would need a T-Visa, which is awarded to victims of sex and labor trafficking. Usually when the application is approved by USCIS the recipient gets a work permit that lasts four years. Most T-Visa recipients can eventually apply for a green card.

The application process was begun in January 2018 and in September she received her T-Visa.

Now expecting a baby, she is in a loving relationship with her fiancée and cannot start working until after the baby is born.  Mei says she is scared to be a new mom, but she is learning to drive, and wants to get her license.  When the baby is born, and she has childcare arranged, she wants to work.

To her friends at Just Neighbors Mei says, “Thank you! When I first met Just Neighbors I didn’t speak English, but they didn’t give up on me. I was depressed then, but I am happy now.”

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.

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