Phuong* is 16 years old and studying in Grade 10. Every morning she catches a bus to school, but no one could ever imagine the trauma she suffered two years ago.
Phuong is from a mountainous district in the north of Vietnam. Her family is ethnic minority and – like most other families in her isolated and remote village – they lived in extreme poverty. Phuong and her brother decided to leave school, find jobs and support their family so their two younger siblings could stay at school.
Phuong felt lucky to get a job straight away in a restaurant in a town close by. After a few months, she was quite homesick and decided to catch a bus to visit her family. She passed the journey chatting to a young couple, joining them for tea at the halfway stop.
Phuong does not remember what happened next. She believes the two strangers must have put something in her tea. When she woke, she found herself in a dark room. Someone came in and told her that she was now in China, in a brothel. Her captors told Phuong that they had paid a lot of money to buy her, so she had a responsibility to work hard and not complain.
For the next six months, Phuong suffered unimaginable pain and torment; the brothel owners enforced a quota of clients each day, and if she failed to reach it she was beaten. Phuong describes this time of her life as a ‘hell on earth’. She thought many times about killing herself. At some point during her captivity, Phuong managed to get access to a phone. She immediately called her parents.
Blue Dragon received a call for help via the police near her family’s village. Our Rescue Team put an escape plan into action and Phuong was soon travelling back across the border to Vietnam and the waiting arms of her family.
Blue Dragon has stood by her side since then, providing counselling, therapeutic activities and all the support she needs to get back on her feet. Phuong joined a group of survivors of sex-trafficking on a three day retreat, where they were able to share experiences, take part in team building exercises and spend some time relaxing in a healthy environment. This gave Phuong the confidence she needed to decide to go back to school.
With Blue Dragon’s support, she has moved to a better school and regularly attends our activities. She is doing her best at school and wants to study to become a pharmacist.
Phuong reports that these days she is more self-confident and feels better-equipped to deal with her day-to-day problems. She is gradually returning to the outgoing, lovely young woman she was before she was trafficked.
You can make a difference by donating to the 2017 Rescue Appeal now!
*Not her real name