Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Out of the factories

In the final days of 2009, Blue Dragon staff went on a rescue trip to the factories of Ho Chi Minh City to find children who have been trafficked from central Vietnam to work in the south.

Altogether, the trip secured the release of 6 children, aged from 10 to 14, including 5 boys and 1 girl. With lunar new year coming up, the factories are desperate to keep the children in their service, so this was a real struggle - it took a day and a half of work before even the first child could be released!

One of the 6 kids went home immediately, while the other 5 went back as a group. Here's a photo of the 5 who traveled back together, along with a government official from Hue province who accompanied us on this trip:

Securing the release of the children involved an awful lot of negotiation and argument. The 2nd boy from the left (in the green shirt) is a 12 year old named Ty. He was desperate to get away from the factory, and his parents wanted him home, but the factory boss wouldn't let him go. Our staff had to hatch a plan for the boy to literally 'make a run for it' while they waited in a taxi down the street. Ty jumped in the car, they sped off - straight to the local police station to make a report. A bit frightening for the poor kid, but there was no other way to get him out.

The boy and the girl below are 2 of the many kids we were unable to take home on this trip... The boy is 12, the girl is 13.

The train trip back to Hue took about 26 hours: but the kids were thrilled to be reunited with their families.

... and the final step was to get together about 40 government and Red Cross officials from Hue for a debrief. This was on January 1, 2010 - so they were pretty keen to be there! At this point of the operation, our goal is to start 'fire proofing' the village by letting everyone know who the traffickers are, what life is like in the factories, and get the leaders to start thinking about how they can put a stop to this problem.

A great way to start the new year!



Anonymous said...

dear Mike & all the staff at BD,

Thank you for all the work you've been doing! Seeing photos of the kids put tears in my eyes. Needless to say, thinking of the ones stuck behind gets my blood boiling! They're 12 for goodness sake!!!
Hopefully the government and other agencies will pull their weight and help put a stop to this hideous situation. :(

on another note, all the best for the new year to you & everyone at BD!

big hugs,

Therese Mary said...

It's so inspring to read abt what you and the BD foundation have been doing for the street kids in Hanoi. I really want to volunteer at the foundation and learn how a NGO works at the same time. I just finished my A levels and currently in Hanoi for holidays. It's my dream to set up a NGO for the disabled kids through out Vietnam. I hope to receive your reply soon. My email is animacooro@hotmail.com

Patty said...

I came upon your site by accident. I want to thank you for all the wonderful work you are doing. As someone who has photographed in Third World Countries, including Vietnam, I know the problems you are up against. It warms my heart to know that work still continues to stop the evils in the world and to help make a better life for the everyone, especially the young people.