(CN) – A Lithuanian woman’s fear that she or her daughter would be abducted and forced into prostitution does entitle them to asylum in the United States, the 1st Circuit ruled. The court cited evidence that the Lithuanian government is “making every effort to combat” sex trafficking.
Jolanta Burbiene and her family entered the United States in 2001 on tourist visas. The next year, Burbiene filed for asylum, citing fear that she or her daughter, Agniete, would fall victim to sex trafficking if returned to Lithuania.
The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected her petition on the ground that she failed to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution.
Affirming, Judge Lipez of the Boston-based federal appeals court denied her petition for review.
“It is true that Lithuania has not been able to completely eradicate the problem of human trafficking within its borders, and that the problem persists despite what the Country Report described as ‘significant efforts’ by the government,” Lipez wrote.
“Nonetheless, the record does not indicate that Lithuania’s inability to stop the problem is distinguishable from any other government’s struggles to combat a criminal element.”