Monday, April 15, 2013

Back to the search

The Blue Dragon team is back on the road this morning in search of kids who have been trafficked into Vietnamese garment factories.

Since lunar new year, much of our attention has been on bringing home girls trafficked into Chinese brothels. Simmering away in our minds has been the issue of the many missing children from central and northern Vietnam, both girls and boys, who are enslaved in factories in Ho Chi Minh City.

A few weeks ago we helped one 15 year old boy out; he'd followed a friend to the south from Hue province, and when he got the the factory he quickly realised he'd made a mistake. He hadn't known he was expected to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week... and that he wouldn't be paid because this was "training"! One of our team was passing through Ho Chi Minh City on his way to reunite a trafficked girl with her family, so he took a detour and got the boy out. The factory owner was refusing to release him unless his family "reimbursed" them for his transport and living expenses - but by now the Blue Dragon lawyers have more than enough experience in dealing with traffickers and factory owners. The young boy is back home now, and won't be making that mistake again!

It's time for us to focus again on the big question of how to end, once and for all, this trafficking of kids into the clothing and textile industry. We don't yet know how many children we will find in coming days, as the information we have about their locations is still very unclear. But we'll be working with the police to find the factories and get the kids home. I hope to have some updates, and some good news, by Wednesday or Thursday.

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