Two Best Friends Rescued After Five Years of Slavery

June 25, 2024

In 2019, Blue Dragon received pleas from two 14-year-old girls enslaved in a brothel in Myanmar. Just as we got a fix on their location, they disappeared.

This pattern repeated itself several times over five years of desperate calls for help and near misses.

 

Best Friends

Best friends from early childhood, Lan and Vua grew up in an ethnic minority community in northern Vietnam. They lived in makeshift houses among steep, rocky mountains where every day was a struggle for survival.

But Lan and Vua had fresh cause for optimism as their Grade 7 summer holidays began: a woman in their village was offering them work.

The woman, who spent significant time building up Lan and Vua’s trust,  promised that they could return to their village in time for the next school year. Seeing a chance to provide much-needed income for their families, Lan and Vua were excited to get started. 

However, instead of transporting Lan and Vua to a summer of work, the woman trafficked them out of Vietnam. 

Five Years of Horror

Lan and Vua’s early summer hope turned to horror as they were sold to a brothel in Myanmar. They were beaten and starved when they refused to cooperate, but still they managed to get hold of a phone and call home. Their families quickly notified the police, who in turn alerted Blue Dragon to the situation.

But Lan and Vua were heavily guarded. Whenever they were caught using a phone, they were beaten and sold to a new brothel in a different location. At each new brothel, they were beaten again as their captors tried to break their spirits. The same nightmare played out over and over, and became more terrifying as civil war broke out across Myanmar in 2021.  

Every time Lan and Vua risked their lives by reaching out to Blue Dragon, we made a fresh attempt to rescue them. But they were always moved before we reached them. 

After four years being sold and resold to brothels around Myanmar, Lan and Vua were trafficked into Laos. Several months after being enslaved in yet another brothel, they bravely managed to reach out to a Vietnam border guard. The border guard then coordinated with Blue Dragon and the Vietnamese police to organise a rescue operation.

Almost five years since being torn from their families, Lan and Vua were finally in reach. Blue Dragon and the police seized the opportunity to slip past the girls’ captors and bring them safely home to Vietnam. 

Blue Dragon worked with the police to bring Lan and Vua home

 

Home at Last

When it dawned on Lan and Vua that they were safe, they had just one request: they wanted to call their mothers. 

Lan and Vua, now 19 years old, spent five days receiving holistic care and legal assistance at the Blue Dragon shelter in Hanoi. Then, at long last, they were able to return home and hold their families again.

No matter how long it takes, Blue Dragon never gives up on the people who need our help. From the moment they reach out to us until the day they can stand on their own two feet again, we support them every step of the way.

Now 20 years old, Lan and Vua are finally reunited with their mothers

 

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