• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Saturday, August 13, 2005


    A friend of a good friend of mine starting VietACT--Vietnamese Alliance to Combat Human Trafficking. I am not a member, but I do keep tabs on VietACT's progress. It has done amazing things for being such a small, new NGO.

    When I was in Vietnam last summer, my friend Phuong spent time in every city we visited to look for people and make contacts beneficial in the cessation of human trafficking in Vietnam. Often Vietnamese women are promised work in Taiwan, Cambodia, or China in return for signing contracts or paying a large fee to move to the new country. Once there, the "employers" back out of the contracts and sell them to men who want Vietnamese brides or make them work for far less than what the contract said.

    My first experience with this situation was while living in Garden Grove, CA two years ago. I read in the newspaper about around 40 women that were brought to America to testify in court against their employer who had enslaved them. Coincidentally, a couple months later, I ran into five of the women, and got to know them over a month or two. They were genuine good people, duped into moving to Samoa for work. Often, they said, Viet women would be forced to sign contracts saying that they would be paid only upon completion of two years of work. Before the two years were up, a Samoan guard would push a worker into the machines, causing horrible disfiguration or death, and causing the contract to be null and void. The woman, if still able to work, would have to sign another contract in order to get the promise of money for her family, and inevitably, the same thing would happen two years later.

    One of the women I knew worked as a nurse at the Samoan factory, and nearly cried every time she told a story about a girl who endured this punishment. When she tried to help some, guards threatened to break her hands too.

    You can read about the results of their specific trial here and here.

    Unfortunately, Vietnamese women are still misled to believe they can make money and send it back to their families. Or, they agree to marry Taiwanese men thinking they can send money back to their families, but then they reach Taiwan and are severely beaten by their husbands. They are kept as prisoners in their own homes. They do not know Taiwanese, so they have no clue how to talk to anyone or find out that what their husbands are doing in illegal.

    Or little children are stolen and taken to Phnom Phen or Bangkok and forced into the sex trade.

    Regardless of the head, this chimera is ugly. For those who agree with my friends and I that human trafficking is modern slavery, should be stopped, and want to help, drop by the VietACT website.

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