An Entire Community Watches as Three Traffickers Are Brought to Justice

July 10, 2024

People Han trusted preyed on her desperation for their own gain. A circuit court has now brought them to justice in front of the community they betrayed.

 

A Community Comes to Watch

Last month, deep in the mountains of northern Vietnam, people began flooding into a community hall. Coming from towns and villages — by car, by bike and by dusty mountain footpath — they took their seats with anticipation. 

Some leaned over the row in front of them for a better look; some sat back to take it all in; many others crowded outside and strained their ears through doors and windows to hear the shocking events unfold. 

They were all there for one reason: to watch a circuit court serve justice to three human traffickers who had preyed on their community.

Unlike standard court hearings, which are generally held in district capital cities far from the where the crime took place, circuit courts allow cases to be heard within the communities who have been directly impacted by the criminals on trial. This allows people from the area to learn about the crime: how to avoid it, and the consequences for committing it.

At this particular hearing, three human traffickers learnt the consequences the hard way.

 

A hush comes over the hall as the trial begins

 

Betrayals

Han comes from a poor family in a remote, ethnic minority community. She tried hard to provide for her family, but every day was a struggle for survival. 

Many people from Han’s community are wary of outsiders who do not share their dialect. Knowing this, traffickers recruited a woman who spoke Han’s language to approach her with a job offer. Han accepted, seeing it as a chance to finally break her family’s cycle of poverty. Another woman then helped with the logistics of transporting Han out of the country, and a third found a man who wanted to buy a Vietnamese “wife.”  

By the time Han realised she was being trafficked into a forced “marriage,” it was too late. She was enslaved in a foreign country, hundreds of miles from home. 

 

Justice 

Han was trafficked in 2018. Over the following five years, her traffickers began to relax. They believed enough time had passed that they would never be caught. One trafficker who was living abroad even moved back to Vietnam, thinking the authorities had forgotten about the case.

However, when legal complications forced Han’s captor to let her return to Vietnam in 2023, she went straight to the police. The police reached out to Blue Dragon for assistance, and we supported Han while helping to build a case against her traffickers. After months of investigation, the court case could begin. 

A circuit court was set up in the centre of Han’s community. It was a huge event, with hundreds of people watching as Han’s traffickers received prison sentences of up to eight years. 

When the case finished, Blue Dragon accompanied Han home and helped her to settle back into her life. Whatever support she needs going forward, we will stand by her every step of the way. 

 

The traffickers received sentences of eight, six and six years in prison

 

A Country Comes to Learn

Because of the circuit court, Han’s community now understands many of the telltale signs of human trafficking and the devastating consequences it has on victims and traffickers alike. As a result, the hearing has made a significant impact on the road to eliminating human trafficking in the area.

As more communities like Han’s come to learn about the signs, effects and consequences of human trafficking, resilience to this crime will spread throughout the country. Every community made safe from human trafficking is another major step toward ending it for good. 

 

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