Women’s Union in Lang Son Combats trafficking in women and children
*Stories of returned victims
Mai and Lan are sisters from a poor family in Ha Tay province. one of their father’s friends told them about better job prospects in Ha Dong town, only 20 km from their home, so their mother agreed to let them leave home. In reality, the bus took them directly to Lang Son. In Lang Son, the sisters were blindfolded and separated, and Lan was sent to Tibet to work in a brothel. Since that time, Lan has had no information about her elder sister. After 3 years of physical and spiritual torture, Lan and 9 other girls in the brothel were rescued by Chinese police. In 2004, Lan returned to Vietnam but she has still not received any news from her elder sister.
Many of Lang Son's local girls were also taken in the same way. The victims are not only from poor families, not only innocent girls who live in remote and backward areas, but also girls from urban areas. one of them is Thanh, a city girl who was aware of the threat of trafficking, but never thought that one day she could be at risk. one time, she followed a friend to visit a relative in a bordering Chinese province; she was lured to be an illegal wife of an elderly man in a remote area in China. Living in a different culture, with different language and customs for such a long time made her a feel as though she was in a prison. She decided to escape with her children.
* Activities of Women’s Union
According to data from several districts in Lang Son province, hundreds of girls have been victims of trafficking. The numbers of victims from 3 to 13 years of age is increasing especially rapidly. Applying the Decision No.130 of Prime Minister and a Provincial Action Plan on combating of trafficking in women and childrenin the period 2004-2010, the Lang Son Provincial Women’s Union has implemented a specific program in 100% of women’s unions (from provincial to grassroots levels). So far, Women Unions have delivered 2,422 information leaflets on combating the social evil to nearly one hundred thousand people in the province.Many Women’s union cadres went to a number of bordering communes to provide information on combating trafficking in women and children, introducing the related laws as well as CEDAW and the international legal rights of children. In addition, women’s unions at grassroots levels initiated a project to link information about trafficking to information on HIV/AIDS, family planning, and domestic violence in order to organize several clubs for combating social evils and trafficking in women and children.
In 2005, Lang Son Women’s Union also supported education and soft loans for 7,013 endangered women or returned victims, so they could re-integrate into the community.
The Union worked with Save the Children UK, ICCO, and UNICEF to organize several information campaigns as well as help the victims in establishing their new life back in Vietnam. As a socio-politic organization which preserves legal rights for women, the Union tries to support the victims in both spiritual and material aspects.The Union works with related provincial departments to provide free health examinations, assist with legislative procedures, and provide free-of-charge vocational training courses, so victims can earn money when they return to their hometown.