The children, aged from 12 to 15, are all from a district of Hue province in central Vietnam. We went in search of them having received a call from their local government leader, who had heard of our work in other districts and asked if we could help deal with the trafficking problem in his area, too.
The kids will be returning to their homes this morning, following the overnight train trip home. We'll have a welcome party for them, and then this Sunday the children will take part in the new year party for all of the Blue Dragon kids in Hue, at the Best Western Premier Indochine Palace. I'll be there on the weekend to meet them, and join in the party - which I'm very much looking forward to!
My staff have reported a couple of interesting incidents that occurred during this rescue trip. As expected, it was a difficult trip; the factories are working overtime in the lead-up to Lunar New Year (Tet), so will do all they can to prevent us from taking their slaves away. But one factory owner recognised our team from 3 years ago, when we took a child from his factory, and he invited them to go and look at his factory now. He no longer employs children; only adults.
That was an unexpected, but very nice, encounter! We're wondering now if we can recruit that man to join our work!
The second incident involved another factory owner who suspected that we were coming - people in Hue new that we were looking for trafficked children and somebody must have told him. He had one child working for him, and he was so worried about us coming that he sent the boy home the day before the Blue Dragon team arrived, just to avoid any problems.
Again, this too was unexpected, but we're happy to hear it. So today 8 children are back home, and now our work of helping them resettle in their communities begins.
Late update: I've just received some photos of the factories the kids were living and working in. Here are 2 images that give an impression of the conditions.