Monday, December 15, 2008

Rolling home

A quick update on our trip to Saigon to take trafficked children home...

As I write, Blue Dragon staff and 11 children (3 girls and 8 boys) are heading home on the train to central Vietnam. Another 3 girls have already gone home, bringing the total to 14. All of the children are aged under 15; most are 13 years old.

Frankly, we are disappointed that we couldn't take more. We encountered a new problem this time around: the traffickers were aware of what we were doing, so they warned the children that we were child traffickers. Some of the traffickers even rang the children's families in Hue province to tell them that they shouldn't let their kids go with us. Even though we were accompanied by an official from a commune People's Committee and a staff member from the Red Cross, the children were worried enough that some refused to leave the factories. Better the devil you know, I suppose.

But this is by no means the end. We are now well armed with facts, addresses, and names, so our next step will be to work with the police on ending this child exploitation.

And one bright note: we made the pleasant discovery that one of the trafficked children, a 13 year old boy named Tu, is an exceptionally talented artist. The garment factory where he worked was near a wood carving shop, so in every spare moment he had Tu would go and work alongside the local wood carvers. Tu's backpack is almost empty of clothes and personal items, but full of statues and models that he has carved out. It's almost unbelievable that such a little guy could produce such art! I guess we'll be getting him some art and craft supplies for Christmas...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOOHOO!!! *doing a happy dance*
That's such wonderful news, Michael! I've been hanging out to hear how it went.
It's a little sad that there are still some children left behind but I reckon, even if you could rescue ONE child, it's still worth it, isn't it?

Congratulations to the whole team! You guys are a legend!!

Oh, and about Tu, we'd love to see photos of some of his artworks please Michael?