Imagine! You’re five years old and one day, someone who has befriended your parents has promised to take you to get some new clothes. It’s a hot day, so the friend gives you a cool drink. Before you get to the shop for the clothes, you fall asleep. When you wake up, you’re in a room and you hear people in another room speaking in a language you don’t understand. The door is locked and there are bars on the window. When someone finally comes in, they tell you your parents have died in an accident. You are told you will be looked after but you have to work for your keep. Little did you know that the work would be slave labour in a sweat factory at best or, at worst, working as a sex-slave. Thirteen years later when you are eighteen, you are saved from this situation and find that your parents are still alive. This is just one incident that has happened and is still happening! However, most families and children are tricked into going with the promise of work. Thankfully, there are people that are fighting to help the many kids that have been forced into conditions like this, and this is not an isolated incident. One group of people doing this is the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Vietnam, which the Langports Foundation sponsors through various fundraising activities in the schools and which I would like to tell you about.
On my recent trip to Vietnam, I was fortunate to be given a tour of their headquarters by Duy Truong, and I was surprised at how much they were involved in as I had the impression that all they did was run an orphanage. How wrong I was! They also help kids that come from abusive relationships, that are homeless, and even those that can’t get a midday meal as their parents are trying to earn what little they can during the day. Of course, to tell you about everything they do would be too much for today so I’ll just talk to you about the children they have saved from international traffickers.
First of all, the children that are taken come from almost every province in Vietnam, which you can see in the stars on the map above of Vietnam while the map of China shows where they ended up. Since 2005, the foundation has rescued 703 people, 646 of them kids, and assisted in the rescue of another 338. That is over 1,000 human beings that have been found and there is no doubt that there are many more out there that need saving. What’s more is that, through the foundation’s legal department, they have assisted the victims in court cases since 2013 that have resulted in the convictions of 71 traffickers, which is a 100 percent success rate, with an accumulated total of 597 years of jail sentences.
Of course, there is a whole lot more that they do but, hopefully, over the next few weeks if you are interested, I’ll tell you about all the other numerous tasks they do. But just to remind all of you current students, if you want to help, make sure you participate in all the activities at school that raise money for the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, like the upcoming Christmas Student Party. You will not only have an enjoyable time, but you’ll also be helping a worthy organisation. Those of you who have already graduated, well over the next few blogs, I will tell you how YOU can make a difference too!
Last of all, I would personally like to thank Duy for not only giving me such an insightful and emotionally memorable tour, but also for sending me the data and photos accompanying this blog.