In April, I shared the harrowing story of Trang, a Vietnamese woman who was trafficked into China and tortured until Blue Dragon rescued her.
The traffickers stripped Trang naked and filmed her torture, sending the horrific images to her mother. They demanded a ransom of $10,000 USD, threatening that Trang would be sold to a brothel if the money did not come soon.
Blue Dragon’s rescue team normally works under significant pressure, but knowing that the young woman we were seeking was being tortured – and seeing photos and film of that happening in real time – took the urgency of this rescue to a whole new level.
Getting Trang free and bringing her back to Vietnam was both a major achievement and a huge relief: for Trang, for her mother and her infant son, and for us at Blue Dragon.
But of course with the world in a global pandemic, Trang has spent weeks in quarantine, and only recently could really taste freedom.
First she spent some days with Blue Dragon, making statements to police and receiving counselling. Trang would have preferred to go straight back to her village and be with her 4 year old boy and her mother, but for one problem: her traffickers were still on the run.
Being set free from slavery is the first step to returning a person’s life to normal. Making sure they are safe from revenge or re-trafficking is critical, as is helping them recover from the trauma they have experienced.
Blue Dragon offers trafficking survivors whatever services they would like to receive. Some want to go straight back to their home and don’t want to receive any follow up care or assistance. Provided that they are physically safe, we support them to do so.
Most need and want counselling, medical care, accommodation, and help to return to education or employment. This may mean several years of assistance, until they are finally old enough or ready to stand on their own.
Late in the week, we received some great news. Trang’s traffickers – one Vietnamese and one Chinese – were arrested in China. The case against them is looking rock solid… after all, they filmed their torture of Trang and sent it through social media.
Knowing that the traffickers were no longer a threat, Trang could finally, finally, go home.
Her reunion with her son and her mother was both tragic and beautiful. It is wonderful that they are all together again, and unspeakably terrible that they were ever separated.
Trang will continue to receive counselling and practical support from Blue Dragon. Our job now is to help Trang heal, and make sure she can never be trafficked again.
Blue Dragon is helping children, families and communities rebuild their lives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Please consider making a donation to this life-saving work.