Trinh feels lucky to be alive.
Just six months ago, she thought she could not survive much longer. She’s almost 22 years old now, and has spent half her life in slavery.
Trinh was 11 when she was taken.
The details of what happened are still emerging, but what we do know is that Trinh was taken from her village in the mountains of north-central Vietnam and sold to a man in China.
Only last month was Trinh finally able to make a call for help. Blue Dragon sent a team to find her and bring her back to Vietnam.
She is safe now, but Trinh is not yet home. COVID-19 restrictions mean that a full month since her rescue, she is still in quarantine, far from her family who are so desperate to see her.
With the pandemic causing disruption and havoc around the country, there’s no possible way she can return home just yet. But that day will come soon.
Many people around Vietnam are in incredibly difficult situations right now – even if their experience has not been as extreme as Trinh’s.
Vuong was one of the Blue Dragon boys more than 10 years ago. He was a street kid at the time. With only extended relatives to raise him, Vuong felt unloved and detached from everyone at home. So he took to the streets and all he found was trouble until he finally met Blue Dragon.
Since then, he’s really turned his life around. Vuong left the streets behind with a helping hand. He’s a young man now, with a family of his own and a job – until COVID.
Suddenly, he has found himself back on the streets. After years of doing well and building a life for himself and his family, Vuong can’t pay the rent.
Late one night during the week, Vuong made a call for help. He feels ashamed to ask for charity – especially after all this time – but he was sleeping under a bridge, hungry, and didn’t know what to do. His wife and child are safely out in the countryside, but Vuong can’t join them because of travel restrictions.
With no money in his pocket and nowhere to go, Vuong felt like a little kid again – all alone on the streets.
But we received his call for help, and Vuong now has a place to stay for the coming weeks and a supply of food that will keep him going.
For both Trinh and Vuong, and countless people like them of all ages, this is an exceptionally difficult time.
Young people who have survived human trafficking, or spent time homeless on the streets, are in positions of great vulnerability.
Blue Dragon is responding by getting help to people like Trinh and Vuong. We’re providing supplies of food, and money to help pay the bills while family members are out of work.
And apart from that very tangible relief, there’s also a huge need right now for the intangible. People are desperately in need of someone to talk to, human contact, a friendly word and an assurance that things will be OK.
As our staff travel about, by motorbike or in trucks filled with rice, we’re doing our best to respond to the calls for help and spend time with people – at the required distance of course! – to offer some comfort.
We can’t get Trinh home just yet. We can’t get Vuong back to his family and his job just yet. But we can help them through day by day, safe and fed.
Together, we will see this crisis through. And then, when the lockdowns start to lift, we’ll be ready to walk with Trinh and Vuong as they take the next steps in their lives.
To help Trinh, Vuong, and young people like them, please consider a donation of $15 to the Blue Dragon COVID Emergency appeal. All funds raised will provide emergency assistance to families who have no income during the current lockdown.