For all of the many problems and controversies in our world, there’s one thing everyone can agree on. Human trafficking and slavery are abhorrent crimes that we must end.
Facts about these crimes can be overwhelming. Recent estimates say that 50 million people in our world are in slavery right now. That’s more people than at any other time in history.
But the data doesn’t inspire us to take action. It often has the opposite effect.
With a problem of that size, what can I possibly do that would make a difference?
And that’s where things go wrong. Where we are inclined to give up hope and quit before we even start.
In my last post, I raised the question of whether it’s worth rescuing 10 or 20 people each week, as Blue Dragon is doing, when there are hundreds of thousands of people still in slavery.
In some ways, this is a rhetorical question. We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t believe it worthwhile. But it’s still an important question to ask and reflect on.
Fortunately, readers of the blog share the same view. Yes, the human impact of rescuing even one person is worth it. Even better that Blue Dragon’s rescues add up to a bigger picture in our efforts to prevent human trafficking.
Since I wrote that post, we’ve brought home another 17 people from slavery.
Despite that success, a rescue doesn’t mean the end of the story. Far from it.
Not a happy ending
Tra’s story is one that hit all of us at Blue Dragon hard. When we set in motion an operation to rescue someone from slavery, we hope that their return home will be the start of their healing.
But Tra’s journey home ended with another terrible blow.
Tra is 20 years old. Early this year, she left her family home to work in a factory. All she wanted to do was earn some money to send home to her mother and father, who have always lived in deep poverty.
After some time in the factory, she was offered a job with a better salary and set out with some friends, hopeful for the future.
Tra and her friends were taken to Myanmar where they were forced to work as online scammers. Kept in captivity and in constant fear, Tra couldn’t imagine that anything could be worse.
And yet, worse was waiting. After a few months, her captors decided that she could earn more money for them in a brothel.
From the time she was trafficked to the time we rescued her, Tra was away from Vietnam for 7 months.
At the time she left home – happily thinking how lucky she was to have this opportunity – her parents were both fine and shared in her optimism for the future.
But three weeks before Tra finally returned home, her mother died of illness.
When Tra reached home, her father was waiting alone to greet his daughter with tears. Joy for their reunion, inconsolable pain for their loss.
You can read more of Tra’s story in this Blue Dragon Facebook post.
Any person who survives the experience of human trafficking needs support to recover and to deal with their trauma.
Coming home from slavery to news that a loved one has died adds a whole new depth to suffering.
And this is yet another reason why we must do everything we can to end human trafficking. No person should suffer what Tra has endured. We do not have to accept that this is a part of the human experience.
When we look up from the overwhelming size of the problem, we can see the personal toll that human trafficking takes.
And we know that we must keep going, keep fighting this trade in human brutality until it finally becomes a relic of history.
It’s possible, but only if we come together as a global community and give it all we’ve got.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is on a mission to end human trafficking. We look forward to the day that there is no need to rescue anybody else.