On Saturday last week, Blue Dragon led a brief rescue trip to the garment factories of Ho Chi Minh City. Along with a Red Cross delegate and a government official, we located 10 children aged 11-15 from the provinces of Hue and Dien Bien Phu.
We're finding that each new rescue trip is a little more difficult than the last. The traffickers and factory owners (generally they are not the same people) are becoming more evasive and argumentative.
On Saturday, one factory owner, a woman, cried streams of crocodile tears - "Please don't take the children. I am just trying to help them!" Meantime, the girls in her 'care' were terrified and pleaded silently for us to take them. "She would beat us to death if you left us," one of the girls told us.
Nine girls and one boy are out of the factories and back home. A good result, I think.
Following are some photos to give an idea of the typical factory conditions.
While this rescue was taking place in the south, our Outreach team was working with a young boy from the northern mountains.
"Minh" is a tiny 14 year old who, as a child, was sold by his father to another man, who raised him as a son/servant... until he got sick of him and threw him out. Minh took to the streets of Hanoi, surviving day to day until our staff found him and took him in.
Minh lives in our shelter and goes to school, but we've been holding out hope that his father might still have some feelings for him, and interest in his welfare. Sadly, a 3 day round-trip to meet Minh's father was fruitless. It only confirmed that Minh will be living in our care for some years to come.
We're happy for that, but it sure would have been nice for him to have a happy-ever-after reunion with his father.