Just a month ago, I wrote about my own sense of despair in some of the situations that Blue Dragon faces with street kids in Vietnam: in particular, the aggressive pedophile rings that are targeting homeless boys in the cities.
The last couple of weeks, though, have been greatly encouraging.
Our success in several significant rescues is a terrific sign that it's all worthwhile. First we brought back a 16 year old boy from a 'massage parlour'; then we stopped 4 buses taking a total of 56 ethnic minority people to be sold into slavery across the border; and then we rescued a 7 year old girl who had been kidnapped - the first time we have come across such a case.
In each of these cases, the traffickers have been identified and arrested. That translates to a whole lot of future trafficking victims who are now safe.
I'm in Australia at the moment, here to attend several important events including a trivia night in Sydney and a major function in Melbourne organised by Roll'd, the Vietnamese food chain. Both of these events - and another coming up in Brisbane on Friday March 27 - are to raise money for Blue Dragon's work in Vietnam. The Roll'd event last week had the specific goal of funding the construction of a boarding home in remote Dien Bien province, so that rural ethnic minority kids have somewhere to live while they study and don't have to drop out of school. (Roll'd will be raising more money for this at their outlets during May - stay tuned!)
All of this helps me to remember that, as terrible as things can be, there is always hope. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the trafficking cases in Vietnam and around the region: in reality, there is so much human trafficking that nobody has any idea of how widespread the problem is.
But the events of these past few weeks serve as a reminder of what can be done. We don't have to sit back and accept these terrible events and situations. There really is something we can do, if only we make the effort.