This is a picture of Mei Mei* and her then 3-year-old daughter Lu Lu*. Mei Mei recently entered our program in Myanmar. Hers is a story like many others, and a story she'd like us to share with you. Mei Mei was trafficked into a neighboring country from Myanmar and purchased to be the bride for a man we will call James*.
James* suffered from severe mental illness; and because of this, his parents could not find a wife for him. They desperately wanted someone who could help bear the burden of their sons care, and possibly even give them a grandson to carry on the family tradition of caring for the elders. So James' parents went to traffickers and purchased Mei Mei. After marrying, they forced Mei Mei to be with their son and she became pregnant.
As if life could get any worse for Mei Mei, she gave birth to a daughter instead of a son. Her in-laws were very unhappy with this and their cruelty only grew as time went on. Her husband’s mental health seemed to be deteriorating even more at this time as well. Mei Mei was enduring greater abuse and growing more and more afraid of her husband.
One day when Mei Mei was at the market a woman gave her the number for the Myanmar Anti-Trafficking Police Force. Unable to take anymore abuse, Mei Mei contacted the Unit to tell them her story. To her surprise, when the local police came to “rescue” her, they arrested her like a criminal and handcuffed her in front of Lu Lu. Mei Mei spent the next four months in jail because of paperwork issues.
During this time, she begged to see her daughter. But she was informed that she had no rights to her, and would actually never see her again. She was told that she chose her freedom over her child and would have to face the consequences of that. Racked with guilt and shame, she tried to kill herself.
Mei Mei was eventually transferred to our Myanmar branch. Here, she has been working through her pain. It’s hard to imagine having to leave a child behind; and through no fault of your own, be faced with the terrible choice of your freedom or your child. Yet so many of the women we reach have left children behind.
Mei Mei is asking for our help. So we are asking you to join us in this fight. Please advocate and pray for justice in the systems that governs these cases. Please pray for comfort in her life and that our team will be able to help her restore. Please pray for the wisdom that we can help her to have communication with her daughter, and that one day, by a miracle- they will be reunited.
*names have been changed to protect identity