In the grim side to globalization, scores of young girls from Vietnam are being transported across national borders to serve as sex slaves in countries like China and Cambodia.
And despite the attempts to fight sex trafficking – from the police to non-governmental organizations to direct aid – there remain many hurdles, not least of which is the desire to improve one’s lot in life.In small villages where uneducated residents live in squalor on a dollar a day, the false promise of riches and a chance to help ones family may prove a lure too hard to combat.– Yale Global RACH GIA CITY, Vietnam — The offer came to families on the edge of desperation, living and working around the clock on garbage dumps whose sickening stench seeps into their clothes.A motherly woman accompanied by a kindly gentleman arrived one day in early December, shortly before the New Year's Tet celebration when the poorest of the poor hope for a little extra cash for modest festivities.The two said they were looking for attractive young women to work in a Ho Chi Minh City cafe, and they were ready to give each family a advance — a small fortune for people barely scraping by on a couple of dollars a day — or less.
Though at least two fathers objected, they were overruled by their wives and daughters, who were willing to take any risk to help their struggling clans.
After examining each girl like livestock, the man chose five of the prettiest teenagers, and picked two more from a neighboring area.
The teens quickly packed a few belongings and left.
Seventeen-year-old Truong Thi Nhi Linh was one of those chosen.
It was, she says, the best chance to help her family — a chance to make considerably more money than she earns working 4 p.m. in the dump, sloshing around on rainy nights in knee-high sludge among swarms of other workers looking for bits of junk.
She reassured her parents, who opposed her leaving. I'm just going to work." She added, "I want to help my family." Hours later, one of the few parents with a cell phone received a panicked call from their daughter — they were not headed north to Ho Chi Minh City but to Cambodia, where the girls would be forced into the sex trade.