Young man trafficked for dangerous labor

Yong is one of many young people in his Laotian village targeted by traffickers who take advantage of a child’s poverty and lack of education.

Story by Nila Douanesouvanh. Edited by Shawna Templeton, World Vision U.S. Photo by Sopheak Kong, World Vision Laos.
Published September 15, 2011 at 12:00am PDT

As a young man living with his family in his village in Laos, Yong was seeking work to help his parents.

In his village of about 400 families, most must resort to finding work outside the village. So Yong traveled to Thailand to try to do that. 

Stranded in Thailand

Yong first worked at an aluminum company, where was paid about $90 each month.

However, the work was too physically strenuous for him. He said that he wanted to go back to Laos, but was told that he must earn his fare back first.

Dangerous work

Yong was taken to Bangkok with nine other men, but his trip did not end there. He was then transferred to Malaysia and forced to spray pesticides on a plantation.

With no gear to protect them from the chemicals, Yong and another worker, Hou, developed skin allergies. Concerned about their health, they begged the owner to let them go, but he refused and confiscated their passports.

An attempt to escape

Yong and his friend made an escape. They walked for three days without food and survived only on water they brought with them. While on their journey, they were apprehended by the police. Yong was able to contact his parents to let them know that he was alive, but he was jailed for nine months. 

Finally, they were turned over to World Vision’s Anti-Trafficking Program, which helped them return home.

How World Vision tackles trafficking

World Vision’s Anti-Trafficking Program, in partnership with government offices, has intensified its campaign to promote awareness about trafficking. World Vision staff members engage children in schools to educate them about this tragic practice, and to lessen the flow of villagers who become trapped in it, like Yong.

In addition, World Vision provides care for trafficking survivors and reunites them with their families when possible.

In the United States, we advocate for laws to combat and prevent trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is a law that provides the United States with the tools it needs to battle trafficking worldwide.

The TVPA must be renewed every few years, and the current version expires on September 30, 2011. Congress must vote for the bill to be reauthorized. If this does not happen, the U.S. contribution to the global trafficking fight will come to a halt.

Three ways you can help

Pray for children around the world who have been affected by trafficking. Pray also that Congress would renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which is set to expire at the end of September.

Call your members of Congress to voice your support for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Give monthly to support children affected by trafficking and exploitation. Your monthly gift will help provide assistance like safe shelter, food, education, trauma recovery counseling, and more.