Monday, December 28, 2009

The search

With Christmas barely behind us, the pace continues...

I've often blogged in the past about our work of finding children who have been trafficked from rural areas to factories in Ho Chi Minh City. These kids, sometimes as young as ten, slave away for little or even no pay while their parents believe they are learning a trade. In reality, they're just factory fodder.

Up til now, we've rescued close to 60 kids - both boys and girls - from such situations. And today, Blue Dragon staff are back in the industrial neighbourhoods of HCMC looking for kids whose parents have asked for our help to get their children home.

But a new development: somehow, the traffickers knew we were coming. They've turned off their phones so we have no way of calling or tracking them down. At the end of a whole day of searching, we've managed to secure the release of just one child.

In the next few days, progress is likely to be slow; but it's not all bad. We'd prefer to be able to find the kids and get them out, but there's some value in knowing that the traffickers are so scared. We're making their industry difficult. If we can keep up the pressure, it might just be easier for them to go and - well, get a real job.

This happened to us a couple of year back, when our anti-trafficking work was focused on children who had been forced to sell flowers on the streets. There are still a few kids doing that, but in nothing like the numbers who we first saw in 2005. Eventually, our constant harrassment of the traffickers lead them to simply give up and do something else.

Could we be heading the same way with the factory traffickers?


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2 comments:

Terynn said...

<<<<>>>>

Let's hope so!!!! Keep up the good work, Blue Dragon. Keep the kids safe and put the traffickers out of work.

Liz said...

Every time I read your blog, Michael, I am struck by how ignorant we are about how others exist in our world. Your work is so heartening - you and your crew.
Your visit to us at Campania District High was awesome and brought some insight into your work.
Liz