Building Resilience Against Human Trafficking
Many children and youth in Eastern and Southeast Asia are susceptible to human trafficking. Among the most lucrative forms of organized crime globally, human trafficking generates over $150 billion annually, 34% of which originates in the Asia Pacific region. Although seeing justice served in human trafficking cases is particularly difficult due to the intricate and multi-layered structure of the vast criminal networks in the background, local organizations are often most successful in building effective strategies to fight back.
Established in 2003, the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, based in Vietnam’s Hue and Dien Bien provinces is doing its part to end the scourge of child trafficking. The organization has grown its capacity to become a global leader at identifying, locating, and rescuing trafficked children and youth directly from sweatshops, brothels, and other appalling circumstances.
In 2019, funds from CAF America donors supported the rescue mission of three Vietnamese victims trafficked into China. Following their successful rescue and safe return to Vietnam, the young women continued to struggle with psychological and physical trauma. The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation offers long-term counseling and support for school reintegration and played an important role in helping these young women with their recovery. In more extreme cases, when victims fear for their lives, the Foundation offers temporary residence in an undisclosed safe shelter where staff provides around-the-clock support.
The Foundation works with families and local authorities to better understand and prevent human trafficking, child slavery, and exploitation of the vulnerable. The knowledge shared by local authorities and the lessons learned through their rescue operations serve as the basis for the Foundation’s awareness-building activities. The funding provided the opportunity for 578 children and 90 parents to participate in children and parent’s clubs. One hundred and five school teachers and 69 local government officials joined workshops hosted by the Foundation to learn about how to most effectively intervene in cases of potential trafficking.
The awareness-building work is accomplishing its goals. Schools in Hue province, where the workshops were conducted, have recorded reduced school dropout and missing children rates. The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is committed to continuing its work. Having expanded its workshops to new school systems, the Foundation is now able to reach an even larger number of at-risk youth. To learn more about the valiant efforts of the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, visit https://www.bluedragon.org/.