L., Trafficking Survivor in Resident at Pacific Links Foundation (PALS)'s Lao Cai Compassion House, Translated by PALS Team
June 30, 2016
When I was 12 years old, I dropped out of school because my parents constantly fought, so each person went their separate way. I had to live with my foster mother, who lives far away. When I was nearly 14 years old, my friend’s acquaintance invited us to work far, so we followed this person who led us to the Hanoi bus station and assigned us to a middle-aged women and said that this woman would take care of us.
This woman picked us up in a bus that led us very far. We passed many different vehicles, then we came to one big house (later I discovered that we had crossed over to China). She made us become prostitutes, and anyone who refused was beaten. We were imprisoned with over 20 other women who had also refused and were severely beaten.
Every time there was an opportunity for us to find a way to escape, we tried to take advantage of it. The third time we tried, however, the owners hacked off one girl's head and made us stay in the room with the bloody corpse all night. After that incident, no one dared to try to escape anymore...
Every time we tried to escape, we got caught and were beaten, had cigarettes burned onto our skin, and were tattooed with the owner's code on our hands.
I was a prostitute for almost a year before the Chinese police raided and dismantled the establishment, rescued us from prostitution, and repatriated us back home.
Currently I am studying sewing, but my eyes are very poor and I often have headaches. Sometimes I experience moments of blindness and can't see clearly, probably due to previous injuries sustained from the times I tried to escape and was hit on my head and eyes. Therefore, my intention now is to learn how to be a hairdresser and wash hair to lessen the use of my eyes and mathematical calculations.
This year, I'll turn 16!