We met Minh in February, alone and cold on a park bench at night.
He was 15 years old, but tiny for his age; he could easily pass for 12 or 13. He’d been sleeping rough on the streets of Hanoi for just a couple of nights, and was relieved when he came across Blue Dragon’s Outreach workers. The streets of Hanoi are dangerous places for homeless children.
Minh was a likable boy, quiet and unassuming but with a dazzling smile. We were shocked when he disappeared just a few days later, slipping away unnoticed from the shelter with a laptop he decided to steal from us.
We weren’t thrilled about the laptop, of course, but our deeper concern was for Minh. We feared what would become of him out on the streets. Hanoi is currently in the grip of a plague of pedophiles preying on homeless boys; the chances of him staying out of trouble were slim.