Phuong’s rescue from slavery and return to Vietnam defied the odds.
After 3 years held in China against her will, Phuong was desperate to return home to her baby daughter and her mother. At the very first opportunity, she risked her life to make a call for help.
Illiterate and relying on a prosthetic leg, Phuong’s options for escape were severely limited. But Blue Dragon’s operation in late November found her and brought Phuong back to Vietnam, as detailed in my earlier post, Almost Impossible.
After 2 weeks in quarantine and time with Blue Dragon’s counsellors, Phuong went home on Friday.
We all want to believe that going home, a family reunion, will mean ‘happy ever after’. Sometimes it is. But for Phuong, the journey home was never going to be easy.
For a start, the road home is not a road. It’s a canal, winding through the Mekong Delta. Phuong and the Blue Dragon staff accompanying her rowed down the waterway on the final leg of her very long journey home.
And then came the realisation that Phuong’s home is not a house. It’s a tent.
This is Phuong’s home. This is where she was raised, where she gave birth, and where she now lives.
It’s clear why the traffickers chose Phuong. They saw her as an easy target. Few opportunities. An extremely difficult life. And her family had no resources to go searching when she went missing.
Her family may be extremely poor, but there’s one thing they have plenty of: love. Phuong’s return home was a tearful, joyful occasion. Even though this family has so few material possessions, they are back together and they have each other.
Rescue from slavery is never the end of the story. It’s just the beginning of a new chapter.
For Phuong, her 3 year old daughter and her own parents, this family reunion is a chance for a new start in life. They’re going to need a lot of help over a long time, but now Phuong finally has a reason to hope that better days really are ahead.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is working to end human trafficking and slavery. Please donate to this important work if you can.