After 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