Wednesday, August 5, 2020

CEF graduate Chuyen's story ~ Written by Chuyen and translated by CEF's Kim Chi

I came from a poor farming family and I am the youngest child in a family with four children. My parents worked really hard to bring us up and tried to keep us all in school. My father used to work on building sites and my mother worked on farms to make ends meets. The physically demanding work made my parents’ health deteriorate. My father has spinal degeneration and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to poverty and the difficult financial position of my family, when I was 15 years old, one of my sisters had to stop her schooling prematurely. She married after one year of working. When I saw how she struggled to afford the costs of raising children, I told myself that I had to go to university to have a better life for myself and to be in a position to bring up my children in way that wasn’t deprived. 

When I was 15 years old, my mother was recovering from her breast cancer surgery. I love her so much, so I thought that if I went to university, I would have a better life and earn plenty of money then I could help my mother to have a better life too. Her health has suffered a lot since the surgery, so I felt she should have a comfortable life when I complete university, as when I am working I would be able to support her.

In 2014, I passed the university entrance exam but my parents didn’t want me to go to university. At that time, my mother was sick and my brother was in university so they couldn’t afford to help me at all.

I still have never forgotten the day in September 2014, when my father took me to the bus station to go to Ha Noi although he said he wanted me to stop my eduction. We kept silence during the whole journey to the bus station. When we got there, I told my father “Take me back home, I won’t go to university”. He threw my luggage into the bus and say ‘Go and complete your university course’. We burst into tears and I cried during the long trip to Ha Noi. His action was such a positive motivation for me to go to university and complete my course. 

I took a university course for four and a half years, majoring in IT. During my university course, I worked part time to earn enough to cover my university expenses besides receiving sponsorship from CEF. At that time, my brother was studying at university as well and my mother was sick. My father was the only person working and providing finance for the family. 

With sponsorship from CEF, there was less financial worry for me when I went to university because it cost a lot for my university expenses. 

I got my university graduation certificate last year 2019, qualified in IT and now am working in my favourite job as a software tester. Every day at work I never get bored. With my university certificate, I now have a good, well-paid job so that I’m now able to give financial support to my parents monthly besides affording to support myself independently. For me, being at university for four and a half years was very important and also a key factor to my good future. My parents are well and they don’t need to work much now because no one in my family is being educated. We can work and support them monthly, so they only farm a little to provide enough for their daily needs. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons reminded me of a past trafficking situation

Human Trafficking is such a huge money making business, that the techniques to get the needed girls for the business of prostitution and to be wives in China is constanctly changing as each of their ruthless games is found out. This is a story from 15 years ago about how they nearly successfully obtained some ethnic girls for their use and abuse.

They were angry with me as they believed I had removed the possibility of their daughters earning a good salary and supporting them. I was surprised and sad when I was told this when I returned to the village a few weeks later. I had saved their daughters lives and yet they couldn’t see that at all and consequently were angry with me due to no imagined forthcoming wealth.
When I was there the prior time I had found out that some of the young teenage girls from the village were planning on going off together to excellent well paid jobs in Ho Chi Minh City. I knew immediately that the tricksters had been to the village. Well-dressed women adorned with gold jewelry went to ethnic villages and promised work to the young women who were unemployed and a financial burden to their families. The wealth the women displayed of course gave weight to their request.
The girls were due to leave the following day, so there was excitement in the village when I arrived. My friend was thrilled to tell me of the good fortune of these families. When I strongly made my stance and insisted my friend went and visited each of the families to let them know about the tricksters and what their goals could be, and to beg them not to let their daughters go to HCM City, she felt bad as she knew no one would want to hear this bad news.
She was successful in persuading them, but they now all felt anger, which was aimed at me. Although upset that they couldn’t see that their daughters were more precious and important than the money, I felt relieved that my friend had been successful in persuading the families to not send their daughters away to an unknown and potential frighteningly and degrading future that could end in death.

Covid-19 and the effect on Human Trafficking

It’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. As is the way, I sometimes do posts related to these important international days that have some connection to the work that CEF does. But what can I write about related to Human Trafficking as it all has been said, about how serious it is, how there are many organizations working hard to combat it and now also some governments around the world are fully behind prevention, rescuing and carrying out appropriate punishments. But I can write a little about Covid-19 and how it is affecting Human Trafficking.

Covid is already and further will change the world dramatically. It has been a huge blow to progress in reducing trafficking and poverty according to Matt Friedman of the Mekong Club, who talked at the Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference recently.  He said that we have lost ground in reducing modern slavery and that the 15 year advancement we had made, has gone! There are now 42 million people in slavery and 62% of them are in Asia!

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a Hanoi based NGO concentrates on prevention and rescues. According to them due to Covid-19 some trafficking rescues in Vietnam were delayed over the last six months, some were still possible thankfully, but the victims had to go into quarantine for two weeks. Not ideal at all considering the victims already are traumatized and need emotional and psychological help.

Matt shared a sad fact that families who are really poor are surrendering their children, including very young girls, more than ever before and are selling them off to brothels and traffickers, as they can’t afford to feed them. A positive is that some brothels are sending girls home as they don’t have enough customers and have growing debt.

Matt said that all communities will be affected, prices of most things will go up along with spending going down. There is a lot of uncertainly for factories, factory owners and employees.  Manufacturing is no longer a smooth process as some parts aren’t being made and delivery of parts are delayed. Orders are slow in coming in, some have none and orders are often cancelled even when the manufacturing is in process. Some factories found the only way to survive and for people not to get ill was to ask the staff to live at the factory , but they had to make a rule that if they left they could not return and often demanded that they carry out unpaid overtime. It’s another new form of slavery. 

Many factories are shutting down or have, most have a reduced work force, with some on reduced salaries and others not paid.  As people are desperate for work, they consider working in worse conditions now. Many won’t have enough to keep a roof over their heads and feed their family. With 60-70% of the world’s factory workers being in Asia, this is a serious situation.  Very sadly it is forecast that half a billion are slipping into poverty, 2.5 million people will suffer from starvation with around a million will die from Covid.  This Covid-19 period in our history is a sad time for all on this planet as it is bringing about more poverty and consequently an increase in trafficking.

(The infographic from Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation shows how Covid-19 is impacting Human

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The latest conversation with CEF university student Chi ~ Guest post by CEF's Thuy Tran

Every month, our university students communicate with us about their life and their studies, so that we can know how they are and give help if they need it. Here is a story of a third-year university student majoring in law, who shared with us about how she is this month.

‘Since the end of June, my study schedule is less busy than before because I completed my lessons in some subjects. Others will be finished in the third week of this month, but my term 2 examinations will be in the middle of July. At the end of last month, my friend introduced to me a good part-time job in a keychain workshop. I said that it is a good part-time job because I feel happy to work there and it is flexible work. I can come in my free time. And of course, my income is depending on how many key-chains I can make. My job is to make  key-chains. There, I have a chance to learn how to design key-chains and how to use the laser cutting machine. It is not a hard job and the staff can eat free ice-cream and drink free coffee  in the break-time.

Covid-19 has affected not only my term two studies but also my coming internship. Normally, students can do it in the summer holiday of the third year, but now it will be delayed to term 2 of the final year. My university board also encourages students to go back to their hometown to do their internship. So, I plan to do the internship at the District Court or at the People’s Procuracy of the district. Next year, I have to choose a specific aspect of law to learn. After asking my older sisters and students who are older, I decided to choose ‘administrative law’.