Written by: 

Christina Phương Chi Bùi


March 10, 2016

While outreaching at Bac Ha Market in Lào Cai Province to spread awarness about and to prevent human trafficking, we asked a simple question: Do you know anyone who was trafficked? 


A huge crowd of people surrounded us and, one by one, told us how their family members and friends went to China and never came back or have not been able to get in touch with them. 
A 78-year-old woman's married daughter was unhappy with her husband, left and went to China to seek a better life 5 years ago and hasn't returned since.
A 20-year-old man's younger sister's boyfriend invited her to go to the city several months ago and never returned. 
A 30-year-old woman's older sister lived in poverty, so she went to China to look for work and left her 5-year-old child behind. Four years later, no one still has any information about her or have heard from her. 
A 20-year-old man's older sister was sick and went back and forth between Vietnam and China to seek treatment. Each time she returned to Vietnam, she became sicker. About a year ago, she went to China and hasn't come back home.


One thread connects these stories: people want to seek better lives for themselves and their families. 
We suspect that these family members and friends may have be trafficked. Sometimes human trafficking doesn't involve being kidnapped. Sometimes people place trust or believe in the wrong people, and traffickers use that to their advantage. And in the remote, mountainous region of Vietnam, it's easy to get lost or unknowingly cross the border to China. For this reason, we hold outreach events to raise awareness about protecting yourself and your community from being exploited.