Saturday, December 10, 2011

The look

We have some great news to start the weekend.

Blue Dragon staff have found a teenage girl who was kidnapped from southern Vietnam and sold to a brothel in China. Last night, the girl was in her father's arms in a Chinese police station, overcome not only with terror but also the relief of being suddenly free.

Three other girls were in the same brothel, and have also been released. The traffickers are in custody - well, some of them. That's a good start.

The girls will be back in Vietnam in coming days. Once they're safely home, I'll be able to write more about the story behind their abduction and rescue.

What I can say is that this is one case that we didn't hold out much hope of resolving. It sure is nice to be wrong.

Going in to it, we had all sorts of doubts. To begin with, the information was incredibly scarce. The girl had made some calls home to her family, but she didn't know where she was, other than 'somewhere in China'.

Compounding our doubt was the fact that there is some urgent work facing our team in Hanoi. The lease on our children's centre expires in the middle of 2012, and we've been searching for a new place for months, with no progress. Finally we have found a possibility - a vacant block of land in the right area - and we need to start negotiating with the owner to come up with a plan. If we don't secure a new location, our centre will be closed and so will the office. This is a significant problem.

Putting aside our long term needs aside to search for a kidnapped girl, having almost no information about her location, was no small decision.

A lot of charities in Vietnam talk about their anti-trafficking programs on their websites, but most - particularly the big ones with all the resources - don't get involved in "individual cases". They help police and government with training. This is more sustainable, they say.

Such training is important, no doubt, but when faced with a mother and father who are desperate to find their daughter and have put their house up for sale just to raise the money they need to travel to China and look for her... well, what could we say? "Sorry, but your daughter doesn't fit with our organisational priorities at the moment"?

In making our decision to go on the search, a staff member said to me: "If you could see the look in the father's eyes right now, you would see why we have to do this."

There's no arguing with that. So we made the decision, and the girl has her freedom back.

6 comments:

Alison said...

I just love the way Blue Dragon sees real people not 'organisational priorities'.

What a wonderful outcome for these girls and their families. Well done Blue Dragon!

You're a real inspiration!

Jeff Gibbs said...

Great great great blog.

Jeff Gibbs said...

Great great blog. And great work.

Michael Brosowski said...

Alison, I have no doubt that you work the same way - people first, programs second. (And you inspire me, too, so it's mutual!!)

Jeff, thanks for your encouragement. I am itching to post more news but have to wait!

Macca said...

What an inspirational storey ! One of hope and joy that ordinary (not that any of your are ordinary) human beings can bring down the 'baddies' and re-united a family ! 1 person may not seem large enough for a big organisation BUT what if that one person was their child !!! Proof that you can change the world one step at a time. What do they say ? "The man that moved the mountain started one stone at a time" You inspire me !!

Macca said...

What an inspirational storey ! One of hope and joy that ordinary (not that any of your are ordinary) human beings can bring down the 'baddies' and re-united a family ! 1 person may not seem large enough for a big organisation BUT what if that one person was their child !!! Proof that you can change the world one step at a time. What do they say ? "The man that moved the mountain started one stone at a time" You inspire me !!