Sisters “Trinh” and “Van” are part of the Khmu ethnic group, born into an impoverished community in central Vietnam. Women in this community are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, due to high poverty levels and low access to education.
At the age of 13, Van was tricked and sold to a man who wanted to buy a wife. She spent almost five years in China, enslaved in a family home where she was exploited and abused repeatedly.
In 2017, she was rescued by Blue Dragon and reunited with her family. Upon her return she discovered her older sister Trinh was missing, having fallen into the same trap. A trafficker, masked as a recruiter, had entered their community and and preyed on Trinh, convincing her to travel to China for a well-paid job.
When Trinh arrived in China she worked in a factory, but after three months was told the factory went bankrupt and was closing down. They refused to pay her, and instead the recruiter sold her into a forced marriage.
The man who bought Trinh kept a close eye on her so she didn’t run away. She had to slowly earn his trust, and eventually he let her use a mobile phone. All international calls were blocked so she couldn’t call for help. But luckily, one day Trinh was able to contact her younger sister Van via social media to ask for help.
Having been in China for almost five years, Van had learnt to speak Chinese and was familiar with the way of life. So she decided to go back to China and rescue her sister herself. She crossed over the border with an acquaintance who was living there. However when she arrived, this “acquaintance” took all of her money and tried to sell her into another forced marriage.
Scared and alone, Van remembered how Blue Dragon helped her in the past, and she decided to call for help. The Blue Dragon rescue team made the trip to China, and brought them home. Both are now back safely in Vietnam receiving care and support to recover from their trauma.