Ukrainian Refugees Escaping Trafficking Find Support at Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic

This year, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC) represented Ukrainian refugees Vova and his sister Karina, who both fled the war in Ukraine with their families. 

Vova and Karina were able to come to the United States through the "Uniting for Ukraine" (U4U) program, which streamlines the process for Ukrainian citizens seeking asylum in the United States.

Unfortunately, upon entering the United States, Vova and Karina were horrifically subjected to labor trafficking by their U4U sponsor. Vova was forced to work in a mechanic shop without compensation, while Karina was subjected to domestic servitude. Fortunately, a good Samaritan helped the siblings escape and facilitated their travel to California, where they met the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic team.  

Vova and Karina were represented by students Ana Khachatryan ‘24, Emma Wine ‘24 and Makayla Rabago ‘24, and through their advocacy, the LIJC students secured status for not only Vova and Karina, but their respective spouses and children.  

“My family and I left Ukraine due to the war. After arriving in the U.S., we immediately fell victim to labor trafficking. The Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic helped my family define what options we had to move forward with our quest to live without fear of those traffickers or war in the Ukraine. We are so incredibly grateful and overwhelmed with joy that the Clinic chose to work with us. Everyone who has touched our case, from attorneys to students, have been very professional, kind, generous with their time and restored our hopes for a normalized future. Every question we asked, was answered, quickly and professionally. Every fear discussed was answered, quickly and professionally. I would recommend this Clinic to anyone who might be able to participate and to anyone who wants to support the people in this world still fighting for good. Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times. We are forever grateful to you.”

Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic continues to do vital work, like supporting war refugees like Vova, Karina and their families. Every day, the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic is defending the rights of migrants and preparing the next generation of zealous immigrant rights advocates.