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Empowered against trafficking

StarKids has helped build lasting change to fight human trafficking.

Thinh’s community, in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province, is just one of many to have benefited from World Vision’s StarKids-supported anti-trafficking initiative.

Like many teens, Thinh loved computer gaming. But his favourite pastime took a tragic turn.

“I used to spend some breakfast money … to frequent the computer game shops,” he recalls. One weekend a young man befriended Thinh there and offered him work delivering fish, promising he’d earn enough “to play games all day”.

The lure of quick money – and the thought of seeing the ocean for the first time – was irresistible.

Later that afternoon, Thinh was at the beach. Alone. Broke. His new “friend” was gone. Another man approached, offering a night’s work fishing. Thinh agreed, thinking he’d take the bus home the next morning.

But it was a trap, and Thinh was to toil away on that boat for four long months. “The traffickers sold me to a fishing group,” he says bitterly.

Thinh managed to escape and later resumed his schooling. He also joined a youth club through World Vision’s End Trafficking in Persons program, using his experience to help his peers see through traffickers’ deceitful tactics.

The program operated in six countries across the Greater Mekong from 2011 to 2016. As well as raising awareness among vulnerable children, it empowered communities to build safer migration behaviours, strengthen protective services and policies and assist survivors with reintegration.

With support from Jetstar customers through StarKids over the past three years, communities like Thinh’s are better equipped to keep fighting trafficking for years to come.

 

This project was also supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.