Two girls are coming out of a hairdressing salon running towards a car chartered by an “anti-kidnapping” brigade trying to exfiltrate the thousands of young Vietnamese who are forcibly married or reduced to prostitution in China.
Filmed by a member of the small Vietnamese NGO ” Blue Dragon.“, the scene is set in a Chinese city on the border with Vietnam. The two Vietnamese teenagers worked there as sex slaves in a brothel and were able to thwart the surveillance of their guardians to join their saviors.
The members of ” Blue Dragon “, an NGO based in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, know that they take risks. Their address is also kept secret.
For besides the revenge of dispossessed husbands, the trafficking of Vietnamese ” fiancées ” is a market that generates tens of millions of euros. ” And no one wants to see his + business + ruined, ” told AFP in Hanoi a member of Blue Dragon, under cover of anonymity to avoid retaliation.
The Chinese market is indeed in unrestrained search for these ” fiancées “, transported from various countries of South-East Asia, to compensate the deficit of women due to the policy of the only child.
– 400 survivors –
Since 2007, Blue Dragon has managed to flee some 400 women who were sexually enslaved or forcibly married in China. A drop of water.
Estimates show that hundreds of thousands of poor women in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Burma and Laos were trafficked into a better life in China when they were not simply kidnapped.
Given the magnitude and difficulty of the task, Blue Dragon, who lives on private donations, does not despair. ” Imagine that your child will not come home at dinner time, what would you do? ” Says the same Blue Dragon activist.
The work of the association is known by word of mouth in the poor villages of Vietnam affected by the phenomenon, in the north border of China but not only.
Desperate relatives call the association to ask for help to locate missing girls.
Often too, it is the victims themselves who come into contact with the association from China, sending messages to WeChat or calling, when they manage to get their hands on a phone.
” I was kidnapped by traffickers in China, help me, ” said one in a text message consulted by AFP. ” I pray for a miracle to happen, ” said another.
Once a girl has been spotted, she begins a long process of investigation and cross-checking by the NGO, which can take months to complete.
One of them, intended for a forced marriage, thus pretended to be sick in order to be hospitalized. From there, she was able to call Blue Dragon, who organized her evacuation from China.
Another, held captive in a brothel, managed to contact the NGO stealing the cell phone of one of its customers.
Blue Dragon manages to perform up to eight rescue missions a month, far from honoring the dozens of desperate calls received at the same time.
” If we do not manage to get them out of there, they are stuck, enslaved, ” says Michael Brosowski, the Australian founder of Blue Dragon.
– Traffickers prosecuted –
Her NGO, the only one doing this work in Vietnam, has created a shelter for young women with nowhere to go when they return from China.
Blue Dragon is also trying to prosecute human traffickers, a crime punishable by 20 years in communist Vietnam.
In the last five years, the NGO has been happy to have dragged 76 of them to court in Vietnam.
Among them, the boyfriend of Trang, the young woman whose escape via a hairdresser was filmed by the NGO.
The fugitive was offered nearly 2,000 euros – a large sum in Vietnam – in exchange for her silence at the trial of her ex-boyfriend, who had sold her to traffickers in China, in the Hunan region.
She refused and the ex-boyfriend was sentenced in August to seven years in prison.
” In Hunan, my soul was in pain, now I’m coming back, ” says the young woman, who now works in a restaurant in Hanoi.