32 years

February 22, 2023

Two incredible things happened last week.

First, Blue Dragon rescued a Vietnamese woman named An after 32 years in slavery. She had been trafficked at age 20, sold as a forced bride, and later sold again and again – a total of four different times – until finally, in August last year, Blue Dragon heard about her and started searching.

Second, Hoa who we rescued after 30 years in slavery took a major step at returning to ‘normal life’ when her local government issued her with a birth certificate and ID card. After so many years away, Hoa’s official documents were long lost.

Without these, she would forever be an official ‘nobody’ with no history in Vietnam and no way to prove her identity.

Two women who both were trafficked 30+ years ago – in the early 1990s – and are only just now getting their lives back.

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Is this normal?

Since we started, Blue Dragon has rescued over 1,300 children, women and men from slavery. Of these, 19 were trafficked between 15 and 33 years ago. It seems impossible that any person could be in slavery so long… but it happens.

Thirty years ago, very few people in Vietnam had phones and of course ‘social media’ was yet to begin. So when people were trafficked far from home, they had no number to call and no way to send a message. They were completely isolated, at the mercy of the men who bought them.

 

Why didn’t they try to escape?

When women are trafficked to be sold as brides, the ‘buyers’ want them to fall pregnant right away. Once pregnant, and once a child is born, escape becomes far more complex. A trafficked woman might be willing to risk her own life to escape, but the life of her baby…

This is what happened to An. Over her 32 years enslaved to 3 men, she gave birth to 2 sons. Tragically, both of her sons died and finally she was sold to a fourth man who was even more brutal than all the others. That’s when she had nothing left to lose and made a desperate call for help. She knew it would either get her killed, or lead to her rescue.

 

Ending Trafficking

With the right approach, human trafficking as a thriving, profitable industry can be crushed. This is why Blue Dragon is working in remote rural villages to help families start farms and build houses, so they’re no longer vulnerable to the false promises of traffickers. It’s why we’re setting up committees of local people in towns to take ownership of the fight against trafficking and lead their own communities to prevent it from happening. It’s why we’re working with the national government to strengthen the Law on Human Trafficking.

Sign up for the Blue Dragon newsletter to find out how you can get involved. You’ll receive breaking news about new rescues and inspiring stories about women and young people who have survived trafficking and are on the path to rebuilding their lives.

Thank you for being part of this movement for freedom. With your help we can end the terrible crime of human trafficking once and for all.

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