Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In Hue

I've just come back from Hue, where Blue Dragon's chief lawyer, Van, and I spent the last few days.

We've been working with families in Hue since 2005; one of my very first blogs was about a boy named Ngoc who we rescued from child traffickers in Ho Chi Minh City and took home to his family in Hue. And on Sunday, we officially launched our anti-trafficking program - the culmination of almost 3 years' work.

Back when we first started taking trafficked children home, it was unimaginable that we could ever be sitting in a room with government leaders, police, and education officials, announcing a formal program to support child victims of trafficking. But here we are. It was a very happy occasion.

Not all of our trip to Hue was so happy. Van and I spent some time with Chau, who is suffering terribly with cancer. He's in constant pain, despite some pretty powerful medication, and still hoping against hope that he will recover and find another job so her can support his parents.

Chau was working in a garment factory from the age of 14, and earned less than $200 a year. He only came home to his village because he was too ill to work any more. One thing we learned on the weekend is that Chau was sick for 7 months before going home. If only the factory owner had allowed Chau to seek proper medical treatment, it may well be that his cancer could have been treated and cured.

I'll be back in Hue in coming weeks to see Chau's family once more. There's not much that we can do now, except offer comfort and support.

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