Friday, August 24, 2012


Just a week, and hundreds of lives have been changed.

The big news of the week is that the Blue Dragon team succeeded in finding a young woman who had been trafficked into China, and brought her home. She's safe and well, but once again I can't say much more until the police work is done. It's quite a story, and I hope I can tell it soon.

The handover 

Just out of interest, the photo above is of the 'handover ceremony' held at the crossing between China and Vietnam. The red line on the road is the international border. Each time we bring a girl back from being trafficked, a small ceremony like this takes place as she returns to Vietnam.

On the anti-trafficking front, we had another reason to celebrate this week, although to most of the developed world our reason must seem a little odd. Our staff worked in Loc Tri commune of Hue province to register all the 'unregistered' citizens we could find. In total, we registered 399 children and adults. So the population of Loc Tri went from about 9,000 to about 9,399 in 2 days! 

Sign me up! 

What does this have to do with trafficking? Quite a lot, in fact.

Throughout Vietnam, tens of thousands of people are unregistered. This means they have no birth certificate, no ID card, no driver's licence - nothing to 'prove' that they exist. Without such paperwork, they cannot access government services, like school and healthcare.

We've known for a long time that kids who drop out of school are at the highest risk by far of being targeted by traffickers. But what we have also learned along the way is that, without paperwork, the rescue of trafficking victims is much, much harder. How can police open a case file on a person who doesn't officially exist? How can the police in China or Cambodia - or England or Australia - facilitate the return home of someone who has no documentation at all?

So our staff worked with the Hue government, focusing on just one commune, to ensure that everyone has the paperwork that they need. It was a busy 2 days, but 399 people now have extra protection against trafficking, and can access all the services that it is their right to do so.


Virginia said...

Amazing work, well done team. You are truly an inspiration!

noodle said...

Sometimes we get so wrapped into the situation at hand that we forget to see the bigger picture or the little thing that matters to prevent things from happening in the first place. Thank you for the reminder.