Setting an Example

Preventing human trafficking can start with as little as a penny or even a conversation. Other tactics may involve government implementation. With a push against human trafficking every year, Vietnam has, nonetheless, made nothing but progress. From being on the Tier 2 Watch List in 2011 then upgrading to Tier 2 by 2015, Vietnam has been integrating many prevention programs to steadily reach to Tier 1.

Survivors are the ignition to this movement. Telling people of their story, they gain support from others as well as awareness for human trafficking. As Minh Dang wrote in her letter, there are six principle numbers for the anti-trafficking movement. One of the principles is “Survivor Stories Are Not Enough to Sustain This Movement.” This principle is saying that one story isn’t enough; Minh Dang’s story is not a story strong enough to capture reinforcements to enhance the anti-trafficking movement. According to Minh Dang, “Empathy and understanding is the difference between surviving and thriving… Empathy counteracts an “us” versus “them” mentality.” Minh Dang is a survivor making a difference. We need to be able to “build relationships through stories” as Tim Mousseau would say. The ability to create relationships will make storytelling a catalyst for change.

To reinforce survivor stories, the Asia Foundation in Hanoi, Vietnam has set up one of many programs that reintegrate trafficked victims as well as a program on prevention, education and communication (PEC). Like Minh Dang, the PEC Program’s primary awareness-raising strategies include advocacy, mass media campaigns, distribution of posters, flyers, ads, and public speaking events. Making it aware to the public enables fluidity of communication: one friend tells another and then it spreads like wildfire. If we can reiterate this strategy, then we can see a decrease in human trafficking for all countries. Now that technology is readily available to us, spreading the word is as easy as sending a tweet. The Reintegration of Trafficking Victims Program carries out a project designed to protect trafficked survivors’ rights and assist them in making a new life. They offer courses in social work skills and technical training. From there survivors were offered jobs at textile factories or other businesses, allowing them to make a stable income.

Our culture is connected in so many ways. We need to be able to change human trafficking into a topic we are not afraid to talk about. If we are comfortable to talk about it, then the anti-trafficking movement will only be easier. Vietnam has been able to succeed. Vietnam can be a example for others.


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