‘Thai’ has always dreamt of a better life.

Growing up in a tiny fishing village in central Vietnam, his family has always been poor. The stress of their poverty meant that his parents were always arguing, Thai would dream of a life far away in a big city, where everyone is always happy and children don’t go hungry.

So when a kind neighbour offered Thai’s family a golden opportunity – the chance to go to Ho Chi Minh City and study! – Thai thought his luck had finally turned.

Aged 14, he imagined he was going for a new adventure. He would make new friends and get the education he needed for his dream job: to be an electrical engineer.

But when Thai arrived in the big city, more than 600km from home, he knew things were not as he had hoped. He was taken to a small factory on the city’s outskirts and pushed into a small room.


He was put to work making t-shirts for up to 15 hours per day. There were no lessons, no study, and not even any time to play or relax. Just work and more work. He would get so tired at night that he would just sleep on the factory floor. When he made even a simple mistake, the irate manager would yell and verbally abuse him.

Thai fell ill at times, but the factory owner didn’t help other than lend him money to buy some medicine. The amount would be automatically deducted from his salary, which was less than $55 per month.

Thai’s family had no idea that their son was going through such an ordeal. When Blue Dragon staff visited their community to talk about child labour and trafficking, they understood the truth of what had happened. They immediately asked us to bring their son home.

Thai had been in the factory for an entire year when Blue Dragon rescued him. With help and support from the Blue Dragon team, he’s back at school now and working harder than ever to achieve his dream of becoming an engineer. Although he is 15 years old, he is only in Grade 7 because of the time he was away from school. He knows the value of education and is very grateful to be given another chance to continue his education. He is the most determined student in class. He wants to be sure that one day, when he is a father himself, his own children will never have to experience the exploitation and abuse that he has been through.

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