JUL 11. The stories of a girl (Những câu chuyện của một cô gái)

July 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

The stories of a girl
by Nhu Tien Lu

For the past three weeks, I’ve been living and working at Pacific Links’ reintegration shelter for trafficking survivors in northern Vietnam. There are twelve girls, ages thirteen to twenty-two, from five different minority ethnicities, currently residing there. When I boarded the flight back to Saigon, my legs were scarred with flea bites from the rural visits, my bags were heavy with miniature pineapples and northern plums, and I was weighted with stories, these girls’ stories whose wings I can feel urgently fluttering against my ribcage, trying to find their way out.

A path through stone corn to her house.

In northern Vietnam, about an hour’s drive from Lao Cai and a steep fifteen minute walk along dense rows of stone corn and narrow ledges of rice paddies, lives a Hmong girl. She is thirteen, which is old enough to have worked in the fields since her first memory, old enough to be snatched off for marriage, old enough to be sold with her mother and two sisters to China.

There are details about those four months spent in China that she will have to relive and retell over and over. These are the answers that she will have to recount to the police, the immigration officials, the social workers, the researchers, and to story seekers like myself.

I was born in the year of the mouse.

In my family, I have my mom and dad, two sisters and two brothers and a nephew we’re caring for since his mother was sold last year to China.

My uncle invited my mom and sisters to a holiday and he promised to pay for everything. So we went with him by car, and then by boat, and then again by car once we arrived in China.

I knew that we had been sold when my uncle took the money and the two men who had taken us by boat said that we could no longer go home.

I lived with my mom and younger sister for two months, then I was sold for 12,000 yuan  ($856 USD) to become the wife to a thirty-year-old man. The family cursed at me frequently in Chinese, but I could understand, even if I didn’t know all the words. They tried to force me to learn Chinese, but I would resist; I would purposefully not listen or pay attention. They told me that they couldn’t afford to pay for a wedding with a Chinese woman for their son, so they bought a Vietnamese girl instead. I went to work with them in the fields and did housework. My older sister lived nearby, since she had been sold to another man in the same neighborhood, and we would call each other as often as we could and cry together.

After four months there, I escaped with my older sister and we hired a taxi to take us to the police station, lying to the driver that we had to fill out some paperwork there, because we were afraid he would bring us back to our husbands if he knew we were running away. We spent a total of two days at the border police station, two weeks at the Vietnam migration shelter, and then we were home for 4 days before we arrived at the Pacific Links reintegration shelter.

Then there are the details that she is not asked about, those memories that don’t make it into the notebooks of policemen or policy research interviewers.

I have fond memories of New Year’s day, when my dad would celebrate by buying a few cans of soda to place on the altar, and after the spirits had drunk, we could bring them down and drink them.

She washes chopsticks in preparation for lunch during our visit, her white plastic shoes in the background.

My parents bought my first pair of shoes for school, little plastic ones that cost 5000 dong (25 cents US) and I’d walk barefoot to school, then put the shoes on, and then after school, I’d walk back home barefoot. I was so afraid of wearing down those shoes.

My parents bought my first pair of shoes for school, little plastic ones that cost 5000 dong (25 cents US) and I’d walk barefoot to school, then put the shoes on, and then after school, I’d walk back home barefoot. I was so afraid of wearing down those shoes.

I had a baby chick when I was young, but one day it was hopping around the house, crying -chirp chirp chirp- and my sister, who was sweeping the dirt floor, became irritated at the noise, and so she brushed it out into the field and it died. It was so small. I cried and cried.

When I was supposed to be tending to the water buffalos after school, if my parents weren’t around, I would shape the damp red earth into figurines, and pretend that my clay was a princess who lived in a castle, and I could do this for hours -meanwhile having to slap away the fleas that landed thick and dark on my legs- and if my sisters were with me, then my princess could go visit their princess in their castle.

In China, the family would turn off the television at 11pm, and I would go upstairs to my bed and sit there, awake, still, until 3 or 4 in the morning. I would think about how to escape. I would think about killing myself. Sometimes I just thought. I would ask my sister, when life and death are the same misery, then what’s the difference? But I once overheard the family talking about a dumb girl who escaped back to Vietnam, and I thought, if she’s a stupid girl and she managed to run away, then how ridiculous would it be if I couldn’t? And after that I stopped thinking about suicide and only thought of how to escape.

She is now planning on finishing her schooling while at the shelter. When asked what she wants to study, she says, anything. Everything. She is so clever that you believe her, you think everything is truly possible for her if she should want it. Her laughter is open, wide, infectiously bright, so deep that you can’t imagine her sadness.

She says, I dream of one day owning a house with two stories. Of having a lot of money so I can buy whatever I want. Of going swimming in the ocean.

Anything else?

She looks down, and then she says, softly, I dream that one day I’ll forget.

And then she begins to cry, this vibrant, shining girl who has, for the first time since you’ve met her, stopped smiling. You wrap her in a hug and you hold her for several minutes while she cries, although you can’t tell who’s crying harder.

And in a while, she’ll dry her eyes and you’ll say something to make her smile, and when she does, her wide, deep laugh bright as morning in the room, you’ll see how her laughter is fierce with courage and resistance and light.

But for now, you let her cry, her thin shoulders against your arms.

There is a thirteen-year-old Hmong girl you now know, and whose story you will tell to others, who laughs all the time, who cried over baby chicks and refused to learn Chinese, and who dreams of one day forgetting.

Pacific Links Foundation is leading the counter-trafficking efforts at the borders of Vietnam by providing shelter and reintegration services, increasing access to education, and enabling new economic opportunities.

Help us stop human trafficking. Get involved. Spread the word. Support Pacific Links Foundation.

She took this photo while holding my bulky camera in one hand and the baby bird in her other outstretched, cupped hand.

Những câu chuyện của một cô gái
Translated by Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo/Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo chuyển ngữ

Trong ba tuần qua, tôi đã được sống và làm việc tại một nơi trú ẩn, nơi giúp tái hòa nhập cho các nạn nhân của nạn buôn người ở miền Bắc Việt Nam. Có mười hai cô gái tuổi từ 13-22, từ năm dân tộc thiểu số khác nhau hiện đang sinh sống ở đó. Khi tôi lên chuyến bay trở về Sài Gòn, chân của tôi mang nhiều chấm sẹo vì những con bọ màu đen nhỏ như hạt kê cắn từ các chuyến về nông thôn thăm hộ, túi xách của tôi chứa đầy dứa nhỏ và mận phía Bắc, và trong tôi trĩu nặng những câu chuyện, cảm giác trĩu nặng, ngột ngạt, những hình ảnh trong câu chuyện như muốn được bật ra vì những nỗ lực tìm đường thoát của họ.

Here, she captures the narrow walking ledge between two rice paddy fields on the path to her house.

Ở miền Bắc Việt Nam, khoảng một giờ lái xe từ Lào Cai, sau mười lăm phút đi bộ theo con dốc dọc những hàng dày đặc của bắp và vô số gờ đá hẹp của cánh đồng lúa, có một cô gái Hmong sống ở đó. Cô ấy mười ba tuổi, tuổi đủ để làm việc trước khi hiểu biết, tuổi đủ để bị bắt cóc cho hôn nhân, tuổi đủ để bị bán với mẹ, chị và em gái sang Trung Quốc.

Đó là những thông tin chi tiết về bốn tháng ở Trung Quốc mà cô phải sống lại để kể nhiều lần. Đây là những câu trả lời cô phải kể lại cho cảnh sát, quan chức nhập cư, các nhân viên xã hội, các nhà nghiên cứu, và những người tìm kiếm các câu chuyện.

Tôi sinh ra trong năm con chuột.

Trong gia đình, tôi có mẹ và cha của tôi, một chị một em gái, hai em trai và một cháu trai con của thím mà chúng tôi nhận chăm sóc kể từ khi thím bị bán sang Trung Quốc.

Vào dịp tết nguyên đán cậu ruột tôi đã mời mẹ và ba chị em tôi một kỳ nghỉ và cậu hứa sẽ trả tiền cho tất cả mọi thứ. Vì vậy, chúng tôi đã đi với cậu bằng xe hơi, sau đó bằng thuyền, và sau đó một lần nữa bằng xe hơi khi đến Trung Quốc.

Tôi biết rằng chúng tôi đã bị bán khi nhìn thấy cậu của tôi nhận tiền và hai người đàn ông đã đưa chúng tôi đi bằng thuyền nói rằng chúng tôi không còn có thể về nhà.

Tôi sống với mẹ và em gái trong vòng hai tháng, sau đó tôi đã bị bán 12.000 nhân dân tệ ($856 USD) để trở thành vợ một người đàn ông ba mươi tuổi. Gia đình người đàn ông Trung Quốc này thường xuyên chửi rủa tôi, qua thái độ tôi có thể hiểu, mặc dù tôi không biết tất cả các từ ngữ. Họ đã cố gắng buộc tôi học tiếng Trung Quốc, nhưng tôi chống lại, tôi cố tình không nghe, không chú ý. Họ nói với tôi rằng họ không đủ khả năng để trả tiền làm đám cưới với một người phụ nữ Trung Quốc cho con trai của họ, nên họ phải mua một cô gái Việt Nam để thay thế. Hàng ngày tôi phải làm cả việc trong nhà và việc ngoài nương rẫy cho họ. Chị gái tôi 16 tuổi sống gần đó, kể từ khi chị bị bán cho một người đàn ông khác trong cùng một khu vực, chúng tôi vẫn cố giữ liên lạc để có thể khóc với nhau.

Sau bốn tháng, tôi trốn thoát với chị gái của tôi bằng việc cùng với chị, mỗi ngày để dành 1 ít tiền, rồi góp lại thuê một xe khách để nhờ đưa chúng tôi đến đồn cảnh sát. Chúng tôi đã phải nói dối với người tài xế là cần hoàn tất một loại giấy tờ ở đó, bởi vì chúng tôi sợ bị mang trả trở lại gia đình người chồng. Chúng tôi đã ở hai ngày ở đồn cảnh sát biên giới của Trung Quốc, hai tuần tại các nơi hỗ trợ tại biên giới Việt Nam, và sau đó chúng tôi đã được về nhà 4 ngày trước khi chúng tôi được đến nhà Nhân Ái, là nơi giúp cho những người có hoàn cảnh như tôi ở thành phố Lào Cai do tổ chức Vòng Tay Thái Bình* liên kết với địa phương tài trợ.

Sau đó, còn có những chi tiết mà không có ai hỏi, cũng không cần để lưu vào sổ tay của các điều tra viên hay các cuộc phỏng vấn nghiên cứu nào.

Tôi có những kỷ niệm yêu thích trong những ngày đầu năm mới, khi ăn mừng bố tôi thường mua một vài lon nước ngọt đặt trên bàn thờ, và sau khi các linh hồn đã dùng xong, chúng tôi có thể mang xuống và cùng nhau uống.

She took this close-up while her sister was exhibiting her formal Hmong Hoa dress.

Lần đầu tiên tôi được cha mẹ mua một đôi dép để mang đi học, nó bằng nhựa mỏng, giá 5.000 đồng (25 cents Mỹ) nhưng tôi không mang dép đi đến trường, tôi chỉ mang nó khi đã vào đến lớp, sau giờ học tôi lại đi bộ trở về nhà bằng đôi chân trần. Tôi đã rất sợ đôi dép của mình bị mòn.

Khi bé tôi có một con gà con, nó suốt ngày nhảy nhót xung quanh nhà, kêu chip chip chip và chị gái của tôi, người đang quét nền đất, tức giận vì tiếng ồn đã dùng chổi lùa nó ra ngoài làm con gà chết, bởi nó còn quá nhỏ. Tôi đã khóc và khóc rất lâu.

Khi tôi phải đi chăn trâu sau giờ học, nếu không có cha mẹ ở quanh đó, tôi sẽ nặn những nắm bùn đỏ thành những cái tượng nho nhỏ, rồi giả vờ rằng nắm đất của tôi là nàng công chúa sống trong một cung điện, tôi có thể chơi trò này trong nhiều giờ, trong khi đó cũng phải liên tục gạt đi những con dĩn (bù mắc), là những con bọ đen bé tí có đầy trong cỏ, đang hạ cánh dày đặc trên chân của tôi, và nếu chị em của tôi được chơi cùng nhau, cô công chúa của tôi có thể đi thăm công chúa của họ trong những cung điện khác.

Tại Trung Quốc, gia đình tắt truyền hình lúc 11giờ tối, lúc đó tôi phải đi lên gác vào phòng ngủ của mình. Nhưng thường tôi vẫn ngồi đó, tỉnh táo cho đến 3 hoặc 4 giờ sáng. Tôi suy nghĩ làm thế nào để thoát khỏi nơi đây. Tôi suy nghĩ về tự sát. Đôi khi tôi chỉ nghĩ tôi sẽ hỏi chị gái của tôi, nếu cuộc sống và cái chết đều đau khổ giống nhau thì sau đó sự khác biệt là những gì?

Một lần tôi nghe gia đình người chồng Trung Quốc nói về một cô gái Việt Nam câm đã trốn thoát trở về Việt Nam, thì tôi nghĩ, nếu cô ấy là một cô gái ngu ngốc mà cô đã có thể chạy đi, vậy thì sẽ vô lý như thế nào nếu tôi không thể làm được điều tương tự? Sau đó tôi dừng suy nghĩ về tự sát lại và chỉ nghĩ làm thế nào để chạy thoát .

Cô đang lên kế hoạch hoàn thành những khóa học của mình tại nơi tạm trú. Khi được hỏi những gì cô ấy muốn học, cô nói, bất cứ điều gì. Tất cả mọi thứ. Cô ấy thật thông minh, và bạn có thể tin rằng khi cô ấy thực sự muốn cô sẽ làm được tất cả. Cô có tiếng cười rất đặc biệt. Tiếng cười của cô sáng bừng rộng mở, tiếng cười như tia nắng nhảy nhót và có sức lây lan mạnh mẽ. Nghe tiếng cười trong trẻo đó bạn không thể nào tưởng tượng được nỗi buồn của cô.

Cô nói rằng, tôi mơ ước một ngày nào đó sở hữu một ngôi nhà hai tầng. Có một công việc kiếm được rất nhiều tiền để tôi có thể mua bất cứ điều gì tôi muốn. Được bơi trong biển!

Còn điều gì khác nữa không?

Cô nhìn xuống, và sau đó cô nói, nhẹ nhàng. Tôi mơ ước rằng một ngày nào đó tôi sẽ quên.

Và sau đó cô bắt đầu khóc, khóc dữ dội, lần đầu tiên kể từ khi bạn gặp cô ấy, tiếng cười dừng lại. Bạn quấn cô lại trong một cái ôm và bạn giữ cô ấy vài phút trong khi cô ấy khóc, bởi vì rất khó khăn để có thể biết ai là người khóc mạnh hơn.

Và sau một thời gian, cô ấy sẽ lau khô mắt, bạn hãy nói điều gì đó để làm cho nụ cười của cô được trở lại, một nụ cười tươi làm sáng cả căn phòng, và bạn sẽ còn thấy được tiếng cười của cô rất khốc liệt bởi bên trong nó chứa nặng tất cả sức mạnh, lòng can đảm và những khả năng chống trả mãnh liệt lại những điều xấu xa.

Nhưng hiện nay, bạn vẫn để cho cô ấy khóc trên bờ vai cùng với đôi cánh tay đang ôm chặt của bạn.

Đó là một cô gái Hmong mười ba tuổi mà bạn đã biết, bạn sẽ kể cho người khác về cô, người biết cười tất cả các thời gian, nhưng cũng là người đã khóc vì chú gà con nhỏ xíu và đã từ chối học tiếng Trung Quốc, và cũng là người đang mơ ước một ngày được quên.

Tổ chức Vòng Tay Thái Bình (Pacific Links Foundation) thực hiện các chương trình phòng chống tệ nạn buôn bán người tại các vùng biên giới Việt Nam, giúp thanh thiếu nữ thêm cơ hội học tập và có việc làm vững chắc, tạo điều kiện tái hòa nhập cộng đồng cho nạn nhân thoát cảnh buôn người. Tham gia và hỗ trợ Tổ chức Vòng Tay Thái Bình ngăn chặn tệ nạn buôn người.

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JUL 1. Not famous, but heroes nonetheless: reflections on the 2011 trafficking in persons report

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Not famous, but heroes nonetheless: reflections on the 2011 trafficking in persons report
by Lillian Forsyth 

On June 27, the U.S. Department of State  released the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which assesses the counter-human trafficking efforts of 184 countries and provides recommendations for improvement. Although it can’t fully investigate the complicated nature of the issue in each country and is, after all, written with the U.S.’s diplomatic policies in mind, this annual report is one of the main sources of standardized information about trafficking in the world.

Vietnam was listed as “Tier 2 – Watchlist” again this year. The Vietnam section of the report pointed primarily to Vietnam’s labor trafficking problem, and encouraged Vietnam to make information and protections more readily available for private and state-run labor export companies. I was frustrated by the shortage of information about sex trafficking, as this is still a pressing issue in the regions where Pacific Links Foundation works, and it is inextricably linked to the rise in labor export from Vietnam.

One of the victim stories from the TIP report highlighted the link between labor trafficking and sex trafficking that is often observed in Vietnam:

“Olga, 23, came to Dubai from Moldova on a visitor visa after hearing about a job opportunity there. A Russian woman and an Indian man picked her up at the airport when she arrived. They took her to their apartment and told her she would instead be prostituted. When she refused, they beat her and threatened to kill her and bury her in the desert. They threatened to harm her if she did not pay them back for her travel expenses, and then sent Olga to a local hotel to meet customers and collect money from them.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton spoke at the White House on the day the report was released, reiterating some of the key points and talking about her own experience visiting a shelter for young trafficking victims in Cambodia.

This year’s report also contained a section that I’d never noticed in prior years, entitled “TIP Heroes.” Clinton mentioned this section of the report in the speech, stating:

“Stories like these and the others you will hear about our TIP heroes give us hope, because they inspire us, but also tell us very practically what we can do to make a difference. And the story of all the victims really is one that should motivate all of us. And when we hear the stories of the TIP heroes, we know that it’s not hopeless, we know that it is not overwhelming, we know that person by person, we can make a difference.”

The Secretary’s words made me curious about these TIP Heroes and so I navigated over to that section of the website. As I read through these heroes’ stories – people working on trafficking from Bosnia, to Nepal, to Finland, in areas including prosecution, shelter services, and community building – I felt a simultaneous sense of “So what?” and “Wow.” How could these two thoughts occur simultaneously? Well, because as I read through the stories of these heroes, I felt as if reflections of the Pacific Links Foundation’s counter-trafficking project, ADAPT, were staring out of the page in front of me.

The TIP Heroes showcased in the report are people who have trained law enforcement officials to recognize trafficking at the borders, set up programs to counter trafficking in their communities, and established shelters for victims where there were previously no services. Pacific Links has done all of these things and more. Through ADAPT, PALS has provided over 700 scholarships for at-risk girls; reintegration services to more than 80 young women at its shelters at the northern and southern borders or in their communities; and awareness raising programs for over 5000 local school teachers, women’s groups, public officials, parents and community members. And PALS does all of this with only two full-time program staff members, one accountant, two resident coordinators at the shelters, and a handful of unpaid full- and part-time volunteers, in both Vietnam and the U.S., including the organization’s president.

As I read the TIP report stories, I felt a sense of admiration for what PALS has been able to accomplish over the past six years. It’s amazing to be able to work for an organization that is full of everyday heroes who dedicate so much of their passion to this cause and but have yet to receive such formal recognition.

Pacific Links Foundation is leading the counter-trafficking efforts at the borders of Vietnam by providing shelter and reintegration services, increasing access to education, and enabling new economic opportunities.

Help us stop human trafficking. Get involved. Spread the word. Support Pacific Links Foundation.

MAY 26. A trip to the border region

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

A trip to the border region
by Lillian Forsyth 

Since March I have been working with the Pacific Links Foundation, concentrating on their ADAPT program to prevent human trafficking in Vietnam’s remote border regions. While my primary role is communications, networking and fundraising for the program in Ho Chi Minh City, I recently had the opportunity to participate in the organization’s yearly Parent’s Day in each of the border provinces where we provide scholarships to at-risk girls. I have spent the better part of the last five years in Vietnam. But this was a level of exposure I had yet to experience.

We were on the road by 6 a.m., the fresh morning air rushing in through the windows of a rickety 14-passenger van as we crossed our first ferry of the day. Dong Thap province, on the opposite side of the river, is one of the poorest provinces in the Mekong Delta region, with a high rate of trafficking and migration across the long border with Cambodia. After three hours on barely paved roads and a second ferry crossing, we reached our first middle school of the day and climbed the stairs to a room full of bright-eyed young girls, ages 12 – 16. Their mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and other caretakers sat on narrow wooden benches at the opposite side of the classroom, wearing polyester pajamas and weary expressions.

I was most nervous about the interviews. Annual Parent’s Day activities have two purposes: raising awareness about human trafficking, and providing ADAPT staff the opportunity to speak with each family about their economic situation and evaluate how it is affecting their daughters’ risk of being trafficked. With a shortage of staff, I was tasked with interviewing some of the families.

My first interview was with Ms. Dao and her daughter Men (names changed). While I spoke with Ms. Dao about the family’s situation and how it had changed over the past year, Men wrote down each of the members in her family and her address on an interview form. Her mother dropped out of school after third grade and can’t read or write. This year has been tough, Ms. Dao confided: with more and more farmers moving to mechanical rice cutting techniques, day laborers such as herself have fewer sources of income. She has resorted to taking in laundry to support Men, Men’s 3-year old brother, and Ms. Dao’s older sister, who is too ill to work. With this, she’s able to scrape together 200,000 – 300,000 VND per month—the equivalent of $10 – $15 U.S. Dollars. When I asked her what her hopes were for her daughter’s education, her eyes began to tear. “I want her to study as far as she can. I don’t want her to end up like her mother.”

The typical story that you hear in the news and in the papers here is that people in the Mekong Delta simply sell their daughters as a way to help the family’s economic situation. Looking into the faces of these parents and their daughters confirmed for me that this is simply a myth bred by those who fail to understand the complicated nature of the poverty that exists in the remote parts of this country. What parent would ever willingly sell her child into prostitution, labor exploitation, or other danger? But presented with an attractive but false opportunity by a trafficker who may be a neighbor or even an extended family member, what parent wouldn’t agree to provide her daughter with what seems like a better future in another place, be it in another country? This is one type of manipulation that allows human traffickers to prevail. Hearing the scholarship recipients and their families recount the information they have learned from Pacific Links about how to keep themselves safe from this risk, I could see concrete ways that the organization is making an impact.

At the end of the week I found myself on a comfortable air-conditioned bus back to the city. As we approached, the neon lights and the urban bustle surrounded us, and I was once again sucked into the increasingly cosmopolitan world of prosperity that is Saigon. That Friday night, I was able to collapse into my own bed for the first time in ten days. But for some reason I was unable to sleep. I tossed and turned until nearly two in the morning, cursing the fact that I would arrive for class the next day looking and feeling as if I’d had a wild night out on the town. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the faces and heard the stories of Ms. Dao, her daughter Men, and each of the other girls and parents I spoke to during the interviews. The next morning brought a return to the normal routine, but my brain has been effectively detached from my actions for the past 5 days. Perhaps this is simply a new and more profound kind of mental disconnect that I will have to overcome if I am to continue to this work of bridging the ever-widening gap between the organization’s donors and the people we serve.

Pacific Links Foundation is leading the counter-trafficking efforts at the borders of Vietnam by providing shelter and reintegration services, increasing access to education, and enabling new economic opportunities. 

Help us stop human trafficking. Get involved. Spread the word. Support Pacific Links Foundation.

DEC 29. Year-end accomplishment

December 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our troop of 15 women was loaded into a van for a 3-hour bumpy trip, crossing one scarily small ferry for a GRAND opening of a beauty “salon” on an auspicious day.  We know it was an auspicious day because while it was Thursday, there were at least five weddings that we saw on the way.  At one point, the road was so narrow that a wedding party took over the entire road, and the only way to pass was to lift up the entire awning.

N.M.’s mother was in tears to see all of us to celebrate the new enterprise, saying that “your presence removes all the doubts and rumors around here that my girl was a ‘bad’ girl, and held by police for doing illegal things… I am so proud today. All of my children, not just my N.M., can face people around here.”  N.M. had resided for more than 12 months in PALS’ Long Xuyen Open House where she attended beauty school.  Her certificates, with her pictures, were plastered on the wall, mixing with the Honor Certificate for Best Students that her younger sister consistently received over the years.  We have placed N.M. ‘s sister in our scholarship program as well.  She is currently attending 6th grade.

Two chairs + 1 hair washing recliner and nonstop customers.  An auspicious day indeed.  A new home will be erected for her family in the next few months, right behind the extension that currently houses her shop, giving more space to the family.

The Open House resident coordinator cannot stop smiling.  She had even ordered the shop’s signs from Long Xuyen the week prior.  Coordinating with IOM who provided the main funding, we assisted N.M. in opening her first beauty salon, which provides various beauty services such as nail, hair styling and cutting, facials, etc.  N.M. is now an accomplished beautician.

We are proud of you N.M.!

Pacific Links Foundation is leading the counter-trafficking efforts at the borders of Vietnam by providing shelter and reintegration services, increasing access to education, and enabling new economic opportunities. 

Help us stop human trafficking. Get involved. Spread the word. Support Pacific Links Foundation.

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