trafficking ring smashed in vietnam

girls cycling in vietnamAfter weeks of hard work, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation has played a significant role in bringing down a ring of traffickers who were kidnapping teenage girls from Vietnam and selling them to brothels in China. You can see from this powerful account by Michael Brosowski, Founder and CEO of Blue Dragon, why The Intrepid Foundation is determined to help this organisation make a real difference…

“Our involvement started when we met a girl named Ha (a name we’ve chosen to protect her identity), who had been kidnapped from her home town 70 km north of Hanoi in January. Ha was just 14 years old. The traffickers had a well-rehearsed script to lure her from her home: befriend her, show her great kindness and then sell her to another trafficking ring across the border in China.

Terrified and threatened, Ha was transported over 1000 km to the Chinese city of Guangzhou. She sought opportunities to escape at every turn, but never had a chance. The further she was taken from Vietnam, the more her hope dimmed. For over 4 months she worked in 2 brothels, serving up to 24 men each day. When she was too sick and tired to face another ‘client’, she was beaten savagely on the back of her head or the soles of her feet, to avoid visible bruises.

Starved, beaten and frightened every waking moment, Ha refused to give up, and finally she found a way to escape. Taking along a slightly older girl, who we’ll call Roi, Ha chose her moment and – literally – made a run for it. Ha and Roi sought assistance from the Chinese police, who helped them get back to Vietnam. Blue Dragon became involved in June, when Vietnam’s anti-trafficking police called on us to help the girls with their health, education and welfare.

Ha is now back in high school, and doing very well. Because she was struggling to fit in with the local community, she is studying in a new school where nobody knows her. Blue Dragon is helping her with accommodation, all school costs, and her living expenses as well. Roi is having a much tougher time reintegrating, so our staff is working closely with both her and her family to help them overcome the terrible trauma they have experienced.

We’ve been very happy to get to know the girls and help them get back to a ‘normal life’, but we also wanted to make sure the traffickers are caught and punished. The evidence suggests that this same ring has trafficked at least another 12 girls, and we suspect there are dozens more victims yet to be identified.

Thanks to the wonderful support of our donors, Blue Dragon has built up a small but amazing Legal Advocacy team over the years. Our Chief Lawyer, a young Vietnamese man who first came to us as a university volunteer, has been working alongside the police to identify and arrest the traffickers. With our expertise, and the resources of Vietnam’s anti-trafficking police, all but one suspect in the trafficking ring have been caught.

The men and women who we believe were directly involved in Ha’s abduction are all behind bars awaiting trial. Ha is elated to know that the tables have been turned. Just a couple of months ago, she was a prisoner in a Chinese brothel while her kidnappers profited from her terror. Now she is free, studying at school, and thinking of the future, while her traffickers are facing lengthy prison sentences.

Human trafficking is a hideous crime that is far too common in our world. But it’s great to know that lives can be changed, and justice can be served. Thank you to all our donors whose support over the years has made this work possible.”

The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support Blue Dragon and other great organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!

* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.

Photo: Dorothy Bennett, Vietnam

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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5 comments

I have a heightened respect for Intrepid Travel for posting, taking an interest and raising awareness on this issue. Human trafficking is a heinous crime that goes on in every part of the world and I am becoming more and more involved in playing an active role to stop it. Most of us live lives that are relatively blessed compared to some of these victims, and I feel it is our duty to help these helpless children escape from lives of slavery. I commend all of the people who have given so much of their time and compassion to saving the lives of these innocent kids.

I am forever so saddened by the behaviours and values of some of my fellow mankind. I struggle to imagine a people who can so easily manipluate, kidnap, sell, torture and profit from such appauling business arrangements.

I want to thank all the people who contribute their time and work for such minimal wages to help others who are victims of these perpetrators. It is also wonderful to hear that the Vietnamese Police are actively involved in stopping this kind of barbaric act towards young women in Vietnam. So many countries have Police who can be bribed to turn a blind eye to such business arrangments and the women in those countires are so isolated if they do escape.

I am amazed at the inner-strength of Ha, to not only find a way to safety for herself, but for another young girl. What a remarkable hero, I wish her a safe and prosperous future.

Thank-you Interpid Travel for bring this out in to the light for everyone to have access to. In doing so you bring more than awareness to other communities; you bring healing to the victims and their families. Forever greatful.

Warm regards

Yvette

Fantastic story. Well done, once again, Blue Dragon. So sorry I didn’t have time to visit Mike B when I was in Vietnam. However, I did meet with police officials in Cambodia who are on a team that helps stop trafficking and child prostitution.
First, there were 2. Then 4. Then 8 … until those gangsters and criminals and pedophiles were all in jail.
Hold the vision.

I would like to make contributions to charities like this one but I’m American and everytime I contribute I get hit with a hefty fee from my credit card company for sending money to an organization outside of the USA. Is there some way you could set up a charity account in the USA?
Thank you

I am so heartened to read this. Human, esp. child trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes that exist – and we can only try unsuccessfully to imagine the extreme terror innocent children caught in this evil web must undergo.

I am so grateful that good people also exist in this world – people who go out of their way to change the course of things; so that children like Ha can be saved. Even if a single child is saved, it is worth more than millions and millions of dollars.

Thank you for this story

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