National Justice for Our Neighbors
January 2018  
To help more women like me: Linh's  Story 
Human Trafficking & Domestic Abuse Victim finds Freedom
She had met women from the shelter like Linh before. They enter a room with hesitant steps, their eyes fixated on the floor, the faces shadowed with fear. Linh’s shoulders were hunched and wary, as if her whole being was braced for the next blow that life had taught her would be coming, sooner or later. 
But Linh, thought Mindy Rush Chipman, Senior Managing Attorney for Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) (formerly JFON Nebraska, see story below) stood out from the other women from the shelter in one particular way.
Linh’s head was completely shorn of hair.
There were other people in the clinic that day. Linh seemed to feel their curious gazes. Self-consciously, as from a long-practiced habit, she raised her hand to smooth the dark stubble on her head.
This was only an initial consultation, but Mindy already knew she was going to take Linh’s case. Turning to the volunteer interpreter, she slowly and carefully learned Linh’s story.
Read full story HERE. 
Justice for Our Neighbors Nebraska is now Immigrant Legal Center 
New name, new logo, new building...still serving our Immigrant Neighbors  
A new era began for our JFON site in Nebraska last week as they officially adopted a new name, a new logo, launched a new website, and moved into a new centrally-located office building in Omaha. 
These changes reflect both their growing number of clients and their growing number of supporters.
The number of cases the Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) took on in a year jumped from 1,664 in 2014 to more than 3,400 in 2017. Executive Director Emiliano Lerda expects that number to rise dramatically in the next few years. He also expects an increase in the number of staff members—from their current 26 to 40—and an increase in the number of locations around the state where low-income immigrants can access the high-quality legal services that ILC attorneys provide.

As for the new name, says Emiliano, “we wanted something more descriptive of the services we provide.
“This will make it easier for clients to initially find us, which may help them access the critical services they need even sooner.”
Names and logos and addresses may change, but the values and the mission remain the same. ILC is still part of the JFON network and will continue to receive support from the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church.
“These changes we are making,” adds Deputy Director and Legal Director Shane Ellison, “are geared at positioning us to meet the needs of our clients and to keep their best interests as our true north.”
 January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month 
Sex trafficking, labor trafficking, human trafficking—they are all forms of modern-day slavery. It's a multi-million dollar criminal industry all over the world, including here in our own country. 
Immigrants are frequent targets of these modern-day slavers. Lured into horrific and unsafe working conditions by false promises, they are isolated and controlled, kept in servitude by coercion, threats of deportation or retaliation against their family members, and acts of violence. 
A 2014 study found that 71 percent of the labor trafficking victims in the study entered the United States on lawful visas. These victims paid an average of $6,150 in recruitment fees for jobs. Victims can be found harvesting crops, cleaning buildings, washing dishes in a restaurant kitchen and, like Linh in the story above, giving pedicures at nail salons. 
Over the years, the JFON Network has helped many human trafficking survivors find safety and security under U.S. law.  We know that often the hardest part is learning to recognize what is hiding right under our oblivious noses, so that victims can then become survivors.
To learn more about human trafficking—and to recognize signs of its perpetrators and victims—please visit The Polaris Project. 
No matter how you say it, we can never say it enough! 
Because of your generous support this past holiday season, more low-income immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers across the country can now have access to JFON's immigration legal services!  

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