Vietnam is known for its beauty, but there’s an ugly side it’s working hard on to fix
When we think of Vietnam, we tend to think of street food, stunning nature and rich cultural diversity – positive things that have attracted millions of tourists to the country over the past few decades.
But there’s a dark underbelly here, something that authorities, along with dedicated NGOs, are tirelessly working on together to eradicate – slavery and human trafficking.
Sometimes traffickers want to take people from far away, because they know it’s harder for families to go looking for them
According to founder of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, Michael Brosowski, there are tens of thousands of Vietnamese people living in slavery in the region, many of them having been trafficked to neighbouring Cambodia, China, and Myanmar.
Hanoi-based Blue Dragon, an NGO whose mission is to end slavery and human trafficking and to provide care for Vietnamese children and families affected by it, receives calls for help on a daily basis from family members of people who have been trafficked, including from people who have been trafficked themselves.
Blue Dragon has already rescued 70 people this year from human traffickers, 220 last year, and more than 1,300 since the organisation was established in 2003.
As my interview with Michael reveals, the most vulnerable to human trafficking in Vietnam are people from impoverished backgrounds looking for economic opportunities for themselves and their families.
And while people from some of Vietnam’s 58 provinces are targetted by traffickers more than others, trafficking takes place all over the country, which means that it’s not uncommon for people in the north of Vietnam to be trafficked across southern borders, and likewise, people from the south trafficked across northern borders.
Listen to the episode below (starting at 39’00) in which Michael describes the nature of human trafficking and slavery, why some people are trafficked and others are not, and what he and Blue Dragon are doing to infiltrate trafficking networks in safe and sustainable ways.
For more information about Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, visit the website
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