Raising the cost

Chu and Thuan were sold to a brothel far from home. The trafficker, a woman from their village, never imagined they could escape. She was wrong.

The trafficker thought it would be simple.

She knew Chu and Thuan from her village high up in the mountains. She was able to convince them, both women in their early 30s, that they could easily find a job if they went with her.

Chu and Thuan wanted nothing more than to support their families.

In post-Covid rural Vietnam, job opportunities are few and far between. The woman who approached them was familiar and seemed friendly; Chu and Thuan could never imagine she was a human trafficker who would sell them to brothels in Myanmar.

The two women endured two months of terror in violent brothels before Blue Dragon could find them and get them out. Their journey back to Vietnam over land was a nail-biting four days through jungle and across rivers. Now they are safe and their trafficker is in on the run.

Chu and Thuan on the 4-day journey home.

An economic strategy

I’ve written recently about Blue Dragon’s strategy to end human trafficking in Vietnam. We use a technique that we call “integrated clustering” in which we apply numerous interventions and activities all at the same time to stop trafficking from happening.

Our rescue operations are a part of those “clusters of activities.”

On their own, the rescues are powerful humanitarian acts, bringing home people from brutal and horrifying slavery so that they can start life over.

As part of our strategy, they are also a powerful tool to stop trafficking.

From the trafficker’s point of view, the whole purpose of deceiving and selling somebody is simply to make money.

When we rescue people from slavery, we raise the cost of human trafficking.

The woman who took Chu and Thuan couldn’t see any way that her victims could escape. But they did. They’re back in Vietnam now. With a Blue Dragon lawyer by their side, they’ve reported every detail to the police.

So while their trafficker is yet to be arrested, she’s already out of business. She can’t come back for more victims.

Every rescue raises the cost of trafficking, increasing the chances that traffickers will be caught and prosecuted.

In this way, our rescues are part of a strategy to hurt the traffickers economically, pushing them to finding other, safer ways to make their money.

A week of rescues

Chu and Thuan weren’t the only people to get to safety this week.

On Friday, we rescued a 24-year-old Vietnamese woman named May who was trafficked to China when she was 17 and sold as a bride.

And earlier in the week we assisted 3 young men and a 15-year-old boy who were enslaved on a fishing boat. They took a massive risk to escape on their own, diving into the sea and waiting to be found by another vessel. Their risk paid off and now Blue Dragon is providing legal representation so that their traffickers can be arrested.

The possibility ahead

All of this has been possible thanks to Blue Dragon’s amazing supporters.

A week ago, we launched an emergency appeal to ask for help. As this past week has shown, calls for help from people in slavery are at an all time high. So we have been asking our friends to donate so that we can keep up with this urgent demand.

We’ve had a really positive response so far and if this continues we’ll be in a strong position to respond to every call that reaches us.

Every call is urgent and time sensitive. We simply can’t tell people to wait until we have enough money. We must be ready to go at any time.

This is why Chu and Thuan are home now. And why May is home after 7 years in slavery. And why 4 young men are safely on land instead of being held captive at sea.

When we raise the cost of human trafficking, the traffickers must think twice. Forcing them to stop their abuse is a vital part of this effort to keep people safe.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is asking for help. Please donate to our emergency appeal so that every call for rescue can be answered.

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