Photo credit: AEA Vietnam
In Lao Cai, Vietnam, near the border with China, human trafficking is a serious problem. In order to raise awareness about this danger and to help the population to avoid it, Aide et Action organizes awareness sessions for young people in schools.
Between 2012 and 2017, Lao Cai province alone hosted 661 victims of trafficking, including 127 children (source: Lao Cai Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs). And these figures do not include all those who are missing. In this area, located in the mountainous region of northwestern Vietnam near the border with China, human trafficking is a serious problem.
Aide et Action, which works in the region to make education accessible to all children - especially those from disadvantaged ethnic communities - aims to prevent human trafficking by raising awareness of the issue and equipping children with the skills to recognize risky situations.
A two-day study trip to the border
One of the awareness raising activities is a special school trip organized with primary school children to the border region. A few months ago, 61 ethnic minority children from two schools supported by Aide et Action had the opportunity to go on a two-day study trip thanks to funds provided by the HSBC bank. On this occasion, they were able to realize that human trafficking is a clear and present danger in their lives.
Despite the more than half-day journey to the border, the children were enthusiastic about the visit and actively participated in the information session conducted by staff from the Lao Cai Provincial Social Affairs Centre. They were made aware of the different risks, listened to stories of real cases and learned how to avoid and prevent human trafficking. At the centre, the young students also had the opportunity to put on performances highlighting their unique culture, play educational games on the topic of human trafficking and interact with other children at the centre.
The group also met with border soldiers who explained the legal procedures for crossing the border - essential knowledge that makes all people less vulnerable to trafficking. The officials provided the children with tips on how to protect themselves from dangerous and malicious traffickers. "You can only cross the border if your passport has a red stamp from the border guard station!"They reminded them. A message that has definitely entered their heads.
As a result of the trip, the primary school pupils returned home with a much better understanding of the risks and consequences of human trafficking; knowledge that not only helps them avoid becoming victims themselves, but also enables them to contribute to the fight.