Far from their families, faced with danger and hunger, two boys feared they would never see home again.

Vinh and Tien had often dreamt about life beyond their mountain village.

The two boys, aged 15 and 16, grew up together, best friends at school despite being in different classes.

When COVID hit and their families lost their jobs, Vinh and Tien decided it was time to step out into the world. They felt an obligation to help their parents and saw an opportunity to travel far from home for the first time in their lives. It would be an adventure, and they could send money back for their families.

As happens so often, the teens quickly found that reality was very different to their dreams.

Once they arrived in Hanoi, after a long overnight bus ride, there were simply no jobs for them. Businesses were closed and nobody was hiring – and besides, the boys were still so young.

The following days became a nightmare. Vinh and Tien were hungry and homeless. They quickly became the victims of scammers who took their identity documents and left them with nothing.

By the time Blue Dragon’s outreach workers saw them in an abandoned construction site, they were exhausted and distrustful. Everyone who had offered to help them so far had only robbed or tricked them.

It took some time to assure the boys that they would be safe at our emergency shelter, but once they were there everything changed. A good night’s sleep, some healthy meals, and some other kids to play with made a world of difference.

A few days later, the boys were ready to go home. Blue Dragon staff traveled with them up into the northern mountains of Sa Pa to meet their family and community and offer assistance for the boys to stay safely at home.

Vinh, Tien and a Blue Dragon social worker make the journey home.

Not all of Blue Dragon’s stories end so neatly – life, after all, really is a long story. But throughout the years, we’ve helped over 2,000 young people like Vinh and Tien return to their families.

That includes kids we met homeless on the city streets as well as the many victims of human trafficking we’ve rescued from places they were held in slavery.

In this work, it can be hard to define ‘success’, because what each person needs is always unique. The way we help one person might not resemble how we have helped others.

Without a doubt, though, it’s a sure success to reunite a child with their loving family. Taking kids like Vinh and Tien home, meeting with their parents, and seeing how we can help to support them in the future is perhaps the best ending that we can hope for.

This has been the final blog post, but the work of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation continues. Follow us on social media to see new stories and updates.

A war without glory

Ly was 19 when she was trafficked and sold into slavery. Two years later, she is finally free; but her victory is not a glorious ending to her story.

Conversations about human trafficking often use the language of war.

We’re fighting slavery. Combatting human trafficking. And anti-trafficking movements – like anti-war movements – abound.

If the fight against trafficking really is like a war, it is a war without hope of any glory.

The world is taken at present with the example of Ukrainian people, whose courage and determination to fight is inspiring. Stories like those of parents and grandparents arming themselves with molotov cocktails, or farmers stealing tanks, make us all wonder if we could be so brave should we be in the same situation.

But for victims of human trafficking, the fight for freedom does not always look so heroic.

Surviving is often a matter of waiting and looking for an opportunity – perhaps holding on for years. While many do resist, it is often safer to succumb, to submit, while secretly keeping alive the hope that one day there will be a chance for escape.

Those who do survive trafficking are likely then to find themselves blamed for their own ordeal. I wrote recently on the blog about this issue, and how even people meaning to do well may be putting survivors through renewed trauma.

Last week, Ly’s ordeal of slavery in Myanmar came to an end after two very long years. She was 19 when she was tricked into following a friend, believing they were off to find a job in a restaurant.

Her time locked into brothels in the Shan state of Myanmar was brutal. Added to the constant violence and threats was her personal shame at being deceived; her failure to provide for her family by finding a proper job; and her guilt at obeying her captors despite the horror she felt.

Blue Dragon helped Ly and two other young women to escape and return to Vietnam by traveling overland. They arrived at the border on Tuesday evening and are now reunited with their families.

But this is no glorious victory against human trafficking for Ly and her friends. It is a victory – given all that has happened, they can be proud just to be alive. Calling for help as they did was a massive risk, and they showed extraordinary bravery to undertake the long journey back to Vietnam.

However, their fight is not over. Being safely home is not the end of Ly’s war. She will live with this trauma for the rest of her life; we can help with that, through counselling and material assistance, but nobody who survives the experience of slavery can simply put it behind them and ‘move on’. The war lives with them, under their skin, for a very long time.

Our world needs peace: an end to war and a start to people living respectfully with each other. Even though the battle that Ly has fought might not have a glorious ending, she should nonetheless inspire us all – simply for surviving.

This is the penultimate blog post! After 6 years of sharing weekly inspiration, I will take a break from the end of March to find some new places and means to tell the stories of Blue Dragon. You can continue follow Blue Dragon’s social media to see more regular updates!

More than just a game

Nam joined a football team for street kids because he simply wanted a chance to play. Before long, the games had changed his life.

The headline figures are pretty exciting.

Over 1,000 people rescued from slavery. That means: children who were in sweatshops; women and girls who were forced into prostitution or sold into marriages; young men sold onto fishing boats or into gold mines.

Almost 6,000 kids back in school. That’s boys and girls from extreme poverty in every grade from pre-school through to university.

And then there’s more than 600 homeless children reunited with their families. That means children who ran away from home or went in search for work but ended up destitute, now back with their parents and communities.

Blue Dragon’s work is best known for these serious, life changing acts of charity that have the power to transform lives.

But there’s another figure that’s equally important. Since we began, Blue Dragon has played over 3,000 games of football.

This can seem a little out of place. If we’re rescuing kids from such terrible situations and helping them find sustainable, long-term solutions to their problems, where do these games fit in to the big picture?

In fact, football has always been a part of our organisation. We began playing football with street kids even before Blue Dragon was officially registered. It was a way to meet street kids on their own turf. From there, they could access our help and services.

Nam was one of those kids who came to Blue Dragon in our early days. He didn’t want help to go back to school because he needed to earn money. Everything he earned was for his mother and younger brothers in the countryside. But he was a passionate football player and agreed to come to our weekly games.

It was his only leisure activity each week and he never, ever missed it.

The Sunday games that Nam attended allowed him to make new friends and build trust with those of us who were starting Blue Dragon. When we offered to help him have surgery to fix a problem with his throat, he was thrilled. His mother came to the city and sat by his hospital bedside as he recovered. She was immensely grateful that her son was finally receiving medical attention.

After a year of playing football, Nam trusted us enough to seek our help. He still needed to earn money so he wanted to find a job rather than a training program. We introduced him to a man named Donald Berger, one of Hanoi’s best restauranters, and Nam’s life changed forever.

Nam went on to win awards as a chef, and for a few years he worked part time for Blue Dragon, cooking up the meals we serve to the kids every day. These days he’s the head chef for a company that has 7 restaurants, so his hands are quite full.

He did, however, introduce us to another great chef to take his place: a woman named Trang, who just happens to be his wife. She’s as passionate about serving up meals to homeless children and survivors of trafficking as Nam. She’s also an award-winning chef in her own right.

Nam and Trang at work in the kitchen

Looking back at Nam’s story, we can see how much his life has changed. And it all started with a game of football.

There are many kids like Nam once was: not yet ready to take the plunge and commit to changing their lives, but glad of the chance to play some football.

Blue Dragon United, as the team is known, has an important place in our work. It doesn’t grab the headlines like a rescue from a brothel or a child trafficker arrested and imprisoned, but for the children who play, these games mean so much.

They’re more than just a game. They’re a chance to be a child, to laugh and play despite everything else that’s happening in the world. And that game of football might be the moment that changes a life forever.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis.

Real freedom

Sẻng’s rescue from slavery should have marked the beginning of her freedom. But a fear of what was yet to come meant that she could not truly be free.

The rescue operation went exactly to plan.

We located Sẻng in China, about 500km from the border from Vietnam. A team was able to get her back to an official checkpoint within 24 hours. Shortly after, she was safely back in Vietnam.

Sẻng’s terrifying 4 months in slavery as a forced bride were over.

But what happened next was a little unusual.

Once across the border, Sẻng asked if it was ok to NOT give a statement to the police.

Normally we accompany trafficking survivors to meet the police and make a formal report, so that their traffickers can be caught. Under Vietnamese law, victims of crime have the right to refuse to make a statement, but usually survivors are eager to report the crime.

When asked why she was reluctant, Sẻng explained that she wanted nothing more than to be at home with her family. She feared that if they knew what had happened to her, she would be judged and cast out of the community.

Sẻng thanked us for responding to her call for help and bringing her back to Vietnam. But, in a quiet, nervous, voice, she asked us to now let her go home alone and to not contact her again.

Sẻng knew that we could offer legal representation, emergency shelter, counselling, and assistance to go back to school or get a job… but all she wanted was to forget the nightmare she had just escaped and return to her home. She had already planned in detail how she would explain her absence to her family; they would never know that she had been trafficked and sold, or that she had ever stepped foot in China.

Respecting her wishes, we handed Sẻng the bus fare back to her home town. With a little extra cash to buy new clothes and some food, Sẻng stepped onto the bus and said farewell. With our number programmed into her phone, she was welcome to call any time should she change her mind. The decision was hers.

Sẻng’s desire for total anonymity – her desire to put the experience of slavery completely behind her as though it never happened – is a little unusual, but it isn’t surprising.

Sadly, Sẻng feared that her return home after trafficking would be marred by the weight of expectations heaped upon her.

It doesn’t happen to everyone we rescue, but it is common. Neighbours, relatives, and even complete strangers feel they have the right to weigh in with their opinion.

“She should have been more careful.”

“Maybe she wanted to marry a Chinese man and then changed her mind.”

“Such a stupid girl.”

Some people will quickly blame her family: “They must have sold her.” This myth is one that media and even some international NGOs often perpetuate. It’s rarely true.

Still others, often with good intentions, will lay their own expectations on her: “She should speak up and be an advocate for survivors.”

“She should share her story to help other girls avoid being trafficked.”

Women and girls who survive the ordeal of human trafficking have so much to deal with. It’s common that their trafficker makes them feel responsible for what has happened; they may blame themselves for being the victim of a crime.

Having friends, family, and everybody else chime in to add to this burden is more than some can bear. Sẻng knew this, and just wanted to be free. Even though that would mean she was denied any help to recover from her ordeal.

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls around, a theme is chosen to highlight a particular issue. This year, that theme is “Break the Bias.”

Sẻng’s story reminds us of how important it is to listen to women and girls who survive the experience of human trafficking – and not to listen to the biases we’ve learned over the years.

The experience that each survivor has had, and the assistance that they need to recover, is very individual and very personal. No two people are the same.

Whatever story we once read online, or whatever anecdote we heard a friend share, shouldn’t shape our judgement of women who have been trafficked. We have no right to ask them to meet our expectations.

Sẻng made the decision that she believed was best for her. She has every right to do so; but she should never have had to fear as she did.

To be truly free from slavery, women and girls also need to be free from the biases and judgement that are so frequently cast upon them.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is working to end human trafficking.

Child v. Child

A remote community suffers the horrific abuse of one child by another.

The call for help reached Blue Dragon early last year. It was gut-wrenching.

In the remote hills of Bac Kan province in northern Vietnam, a sexual assault had been reported to the police. The victim, Xi, was a 7 year-old girl and the offender was a child himself – he had just turned 15.

Both children had grown up in extreme poverty. Both are members of an ethnic minority group living far from government services, schools, and jobs.

This crime shattered their small community, where rape is a taboo topic and there is little understanding of children’s rights and the law.

Blue Dragon was called upon to provide legal representation to Xi and her family. Straight away we knew they would need much more than that.

Experiencing such a devastating incident means that they need long-term counselling to cope with the trauma, as well as financial and material assistance.

Over the past year, we have helped the family and the community to start recovering from this horror. And this week we stood in court representing Xi against her teenage abuser, who was sentenced to 6 years in prison. Because he is a juvenile, the sentencing was relatively light for a crime of this severity. An adult could have received life in prison.

This is a case where there will be no tidy ending; no satisfactory resolution. Xi and her family have strong support from Blue Dragon and their community, but will always live in the shadow of this abuse.

Her abuser, too, will live with the guilt of his actions all his life. In any crime where children are the perpetrators, punishment is never a satisfactory resolution. What drove this boy to commit such an act? What has happened to him in his own life that he would do this to another? Sadly, there are no easy answers.

Although the court case is resolved and justice has been done, the lives of Xi, her family, and her abuser will be tainted forever.

Life doesn’t always give us happy endings or silver linings, so we must be strong for those who are hurting. We must do our best to care for others even when we know our effort may not bring complete healing.

And so it is with Xi. We cannot undo what has been done. We can only do our best to create a much better future for her to grow into.

A donation to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation gives children like Xi a chance to heal from trauma and start a new life.

From Street Kid to CEO

Almost 20 years ago, Vi was a street kid shining shoes in Hanoi. Today, he’s preparing to become a co-CEO of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

I met Vi on the streets of the city in a chance encounter one Sunday afternoon.

He was walking along an alley, shoe-shine kit in hand, as I walked in the other direction. I could see the anticipation in his eyes as he plucked up the courage to practice on me the only words he knew in English: “Hello, shoe shine?”

It was 2003, and I had been in Vietnam for less than a year. I was teaching English to Economics students at a university and in my spare time had started running classes for street kids.

Some of my university students, as well as a handful of foreign friends, pitched in and on the weekends we had classes and soccer games that Hanoi’s shoe shine boys could join for free.

At that time, there was no “Blue Dragon” – we didn’t even have an idea to start a charity. We were all volunteers, doing something good for the kids.

Vi was typical of the city’s street kids at that time. Aged 15, he quit school and left his home in the countryside to come and earn money for the family. His mother worked in Hanoi as well, selling fruit or collecting scrap for recycling. Everything they earned was keeping Vi’s siblings in school.

What started as a chance encounter turned into a much longer story. Vi just wanted to shine my shoes but instead I invited him to join an English class.

Six months later, the idea for starting a charity called Blue Dragon had formed and we were getting ready to open our first shelter. Vi was one of the original six residents, and we employed his mother to look after all the kids.

Vi, aged 15, in the first Blue Dragon shelter. (c. 2003)

Not wanting to return to the classroom, Vi joined various training programs, starting with IT and English. Then an opportunity came up to work in one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants, and Vi’s career as a barman began.

He could have had a long career in hospitality but after 6 years Vi came back to work at Blue Dragon. We needed someone to work on the streets at night looking for homeless kids, and Vi was eager to help. But with one caveat: just for 6 months, he told me.

More than 12 years later, Vi is still with Blue Dragon. He’s built up a team of social workers who go out on the streets every day and night of the year to find children who are sleeping rough. He’s moved into a senior management role, leading a team of almost 40 professionals caring for children who have been abused, trafficked, or neglected.

Vi talking with homeless children on a bridge pylon in Hanoi.

And now, he’s about to take on a whole new challenge.

Blue Dragon is a little unusual in that we have two CEOs, as a way of handling the complexity of our work. For the past two years, Skye Maconachie and I have been the co-CEOs leading our organisation through the turbulence of COVID.

We have an incredible team of 115 staff and as an organisation we directly assist over 10,000 people a year, all around Vietnam. I am immensely proud of our impact, of the team and its many leaders.

Now I’m ready for a change. I am not leaving Blue Dragon; simply stepping into a new, more focused role of Founder and Strategic Director. And in making that move, an opportunity for a new co-CEO has opened up.

Among a field of excellent candidates for the job, Vi stood out. He has the skills, the passion, and the vision to be our next co-CEO along with Skye.

Everything about Vi’s story is inspiring. He’s overcome incredible hardships in life and every step of the way has sought to help others. During his first interview for the co-CEO role, our first question was: “Why do you want this job?”

His answer: “So I can help more people. As a CEO I know I can have more impact.”

Vi’s journey from a street kid to a CEO reminds me how much potential there is in every child. That chance encounter on the street almost 20 years ago has led to countless lives changed for the better.

Vi setting up a laptop for a teen to study online during COVID lockdowns in 2021.

His vision for Blue Dragon? In his own words: “I want to inspire and empower passionate leaders within our organisation and society. We need to create a safe, agile environment and a culture of staff sharing, caring, and standing up for what’s right. And we need to connect with the world, sharing our mission so that we will inspire the world to act.”

Alongside Skye, Vi is going to be an inspiring and visionary leader. Most exciting of all: I know that Vi is already looking out for the child who is homeless or in slavery today but might be taking over from him in the years to come.

Vi will formally be appointed as a co-CEO on March 1, 2022. Want to send a message of congratulations? Comment here or stop by our Facebook page to share some encouragement.

Love finds a way

This Valentine’s Day, we share the story of a loving couple torn apart by human trafficking. But their love was so strong that they would do anything to be together again.

Mảy didn’t fit the typical profile of a victim of human trafficking.

Happily married and with an infant son, Mảy was excited about the future. She and her husband, Sinh, lived in a small town high up in the spectacular mountains of northern Vietnam. Many families around them were poor, but Sinh was a school teacher, so their lives were stable and their future looked promising.

Looking after their little boy all day, Mảy started to think about getting a job. She simply wanted to contribute more to her family’s income. With her own mother living there in the same house and able to help with childcare, it seemed sensible that she might at least try.

So when she met someone on Facebook who was offering to connect her with a job in another city, Mảy was curious. At least, she thought, this was worth looking into.

One day while Sinh was at work, Mảy’s online friend messaged her unexpectedly with some surprising news. She was travelling through a nearby city – not very far from Mảy’s home!

Mảy was suddenly excited. Her home life was so quiet and predictable; she rarely had visitors or chances to make new friends. Without hesitation, she set off to the market to meet this lovely person she had been communicating with. Mảy left her son sleeping under the watchful eye of her mother.

That night, Mảy did not come home. Her loving husband, Sinh, returned from work with no idea where she had gone or might be. Mảy’s mother was very worried and their little boy was distressed. But from Mảy, there was nothing. Only silence.

In the coming days and weeks, Sinh did everything he could to find out what had happened. Had Mảy left him and abandoned their son? He refused to believe it possible – they were so in love. They were happy together.

The days of not knowing where Mảy was, if she was dead or alive, filled Sinh with terror.

And then, one day, the phone rang.

Mảy was in China. Her call to Sinh was filled with panic and fear.

She had met her online friend at the market, and they had travelled into the hills for some sightseeing. But the friend had other motives: a gang was waiting outside the town to take hold of Mảy and sell her to a man who was willing to pay for a Vietnamese wife.

Mảy fought and resisted, but she was overpowered. It was a full month before she could even find a way to call for help. Making that call put her life in danger, but she didn’t care. Mảy would do anything to be back with her loving family.

This call from Mảy both horrified Sinh and empowered him. He knew that his wife had not abandoned him – and was determined to find her. He committed to doing everything he possibly could to bring her home.

Sinh reported to the police and contacted anyone who might help, including Blue Dragon. The phone number gave us a clue as to which city she was in and from there we could track Mảy down to an outlying suburb. Armed with that information, we sent a team to start the search.

Sinh called us daily, hoping for news that Mảy was safe. Every day of waiting was a lifetime of agony.

Within a month, we had found Mảy. Locked inside an apartment, she had to wait until the man who had bought her was out shopping, and then break down the front door to escape. It was frightening, but successful. Mảy was free.

Mảy, reunited with her family.

We brought her back to the border and after a short stay in COVID quarantine, she was finally back together with Sinh and their baby son. Sinh rode his motorbike over 200km of treacherous mountains to meet Mảy the moment she was released from the quarantine centre.

Mảy’s ordeal of being trafficked and sold will haunt her forever. Now that she is home, she wants nothing more than to be with her family. Love found a way to bring Mảy and Sinh back together, and now every new day is a precious gift of life.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is working to end human trafficking. This Valentine’s Day, and every day, we want people of all ages to enjoy loving, healthy lives, free from slavery and homelessness.

What we all need

Nam was homeless, sleeping on a park bench. To turn his life around, he needed a helping hand – just like we all do at some time in our lives.

Nam was in a deep sleep on the stone bench when he heard an unfamiliar voice calling him.

At first he thought he was dreaming. When he finally opened his eyes he was startled to find someone kneeling on the grass before him.

Nam had been homeless for 2 weeks. Since leaving his family in their village west of Hanoi, he had mostly been alone as he wandered the streets looking for money or work.

He preferred to sleep during the day because at night he felt more vulnerable. On his very first night in the city, someone had tried to touch him while he slept in a drainpipe – a much older man who disappeared into the darkness when Nam woke up and yelled with fright.

The young woman sitting in front of him now looked kind and gentle. She was holding a box in her hands which Nam sensed was brimming with hot food. But his instincts warned him to be cautious. Nobody was kind without a reason.

That was the first moment that Nam met a social worker from Blue Dragon. And while he was broke, hungry and tired – a trifecta of misery – he still hesitated to accept this offer of food and a friendly smile.

Nam is like many of the kids we meet. Whether they are sleeping rough on the streets of the city or have called for help from a place of slavery, their first response is not always gratitude or relief. Most are frightened that they are about to be tricked and deceived – again.

Helping a young person escape danger or abuse begins by building trust. That may happen quickly, or it may take time. Nam didn’t leave the streets and accept a safe place to stay for months after that first meeting.

Social workers would head out to find him on the streets at night, bringing food and clothing and sometimes a comic book to read. They sat and chatted, sharing stories from their own lives and listening quietly when Nam opened up and told stories of his own.

In a way, the kids are no different to anyone else. Faced with danger and knowing they’re at risk, they protect themselves. They put up barriers to keep themselves safe. Sometimes they try to push away those who really care for them.

We all need someone we can trust. Healing never happens in isolation. To overcome grief, or hurt, or trauma, we need to know that there is someone who cares for us and understands what we’ve been through.

Nam is safe now. After he finally accepted that offer of a place to stay, he needed some months to catch up on sleep, exercise and healthy eating before he was ready to take his next steps.

He’s a bright kid – a young man, now, aged 19 – and nobody who meets him would ever guess the hardships he’s faced. He has a job and lives with some friends in a rented room. When he’s not at work, he’s listening to music or hanging out in the local cafe. Just like anyone else.

All he needed was time to build trust, know he was safe, and then the care to heal from his wounds.

Time and care. Just like we all need at some point in our lives.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis. A donation of $10 or any amount will go toward the care of street kids like Nam. You can donate here.

Baby for sale

Thanh thought she was entrusting her son to a friend who could help in her time of hardship. Instead, her child was stolen by a trafficker.

When her neighbour offered to care for her youngest son, Thanh felt grateful.

As a single mother, she was struggling to feed her 4 children. Her eldest boy, just 12 years old, had already dropped out of school to start working. His tiny income was all that kept the family from the brink of starvation.

Thanh needed all the help she could get, so some support from the woman next door was a tremendous relief.

But one day Thanh’s friendly neighbour disappeared, along with her 10-month-old boy.

Thanh was terrified. Instead of helping, her neighbour planned to sell the child to a baby trafficking ring.

Blue Dragon and Vietnamese police tracked the traffickers down and intercepted them as they approached the border with China. Had they crossed, Thanh might have never seen her son again.

Today this family is back together, tearfully reunited. Blue Dragon is helping Thanh through this time and will support her children to stay in school.

Thanh and her son, back together again.

​A happy ending ​after a frightening ordeal ​for Thanh and her children​. No ​child should ever be sold​ and no mother should ever face such anguish​. ​​Together we must do all we can to end human trafficking.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis.

Looking for a ghost

A call for help led Blue Dragon to discover a shocking case of sexual abuse. Multiple underage boys had been infected with HIV, and the identity of their abuser was a mystery.

An urgent message reached Blue Dragon one day in late 2021. There was a rumour that some boys in the central Vietnam province of Quang Nam had been sexually abused and were now infected with HIV.

The person contacting us had few details. They knew some boys aged around 15 had been diagnosed with the virus after meeting a man using Blued, a gay dating app. But that was all they could tell us.

Armed with that scant information, Blue Dragon started looking into what had happened, and how.

What we found grew more shocking by the day. We spoke with several boys, aged 14 to 16, who had met a man they knew only by his first name, Cuong. There were older teens, too, but Vietnamese law recognises children as aged under 16; teens aged 17 and 18 are not considered as victims of child abuse.

The boys had used the dating app to meet men as a way of making money through the hardships of COVID. One boy just wanted to afford a mobile phone. None of them knew what they were getting themselves into. None suspected that Cuong was HIV positive.

At the outset, Blue Dragon reported to police and the government. But the children were unwilling at first to make statements and we had no idea who had abused them.

Some kids told us that Cuong worked for an electrical repair company. Others said he owned a restaurant. There was just no concrete information about him at all; it was like looking for a ghost.

However, our years of rescuing people from slavery have taught us a lot about looking for ghosts. Even though Cuong had gone to great lengths to hide his identity, we put together the clues over several months.

Finally, we knew who he was and could report to the police.

Now that the boys knew they were safe, they agreed to make statements. Blue Dragon’s lawyers sat beside them as they reported in detail the terrible abuse they had suffered.

After 4 months of collecting evidence, Cuong is now in custody. The police are piecing together the case that will be presented in court later this year. If convicted, Cuong faces many years in prison.

Some important questions remain unanswered. How is it that the boys were all using Blued despite being underage? How many other men were involved, and how many victims in total are yet to be found? Blue Dragon is continuing to look for answers.

With the accused in custody, he can no longer harm more children. But this case is far from over. The police investigation is continuing and Blue Dragon stands ready to support all of the children and young people who have been affected.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis.