After conducting surveys in two Vietnamese cities to better understand child trafficking in the country, we are currently providing social assistance services to families in extreme poverty to prevent child labor and supporting children and adolescents who are victims of exploitation.
To better understand the phenomenon of trafficking and child labor in the field
We conducted surveys in May and June 2022 in Vietnam to identify cases of trafficking and child labor and understand the mechanisms.
In Phan Thiet, a port city in the south of the country, we interviewed 175 members of migrant families in great precariousness. 47% of them knew of a child who had dropped out of school to work; 26% of them knew of a child who was working while attending school; and 12% of them knew of a child who had left the city to find a job. Yet these families do not seem to be aware of the abnormality of the situation.
These children are largely employed in food service, but also sell lottery tickets, work in factories and on construction sites.
In parallel, since June, we have been meeting each new child arriving in the shelter of our partner CTSE - Center for Social Work for Children in Ho Chi Minh City - to identify children who are victims or at risk of being trafficked in order to provide them with appropriate support. To date, we have met 382 children. These children often report having followed their friends, migrated with their parents or alone, before ending up as street children.
Supporting families in Phan Thiet
We are currently providing social follow-up to 15 families in Phan Thiet for a period of 3 to 6 months. These are very poor people, with very unstable incomes. With little or no literacy skills, they earn their living from day to day as fishermen, food sellers or in the construction industry.
Our goal, to lead them to find solutions to the problems that often cause them to sacrifice their children's carefree lives and schooling: too much rent, a loss of employment, an inability to pay for health care or school fees, a child who does not have a birth certificate, a temporary place of residence that is not registered...
In these families, the working children are between 10 and 14 years old. Most of them work on weekends, others 2 or 3 hours before going to school (as most of them are in school).
Each child in these families is psychologically monitored by a social worker. The older children are advised in their professional orientation.
Actions to raise awareness among children and families
At the end of 2022, we organized 2 film-debates, with our partner CSWC, in our social center in Phan Thiet. The debates highlighted that adults associate trafficking with sex trafficking but are less aware of labor exploitation, especially for children over 15.
We also organized 5 information or personal development meetings with groups of about 20 children on subjects such as children's rights, trafficking, but also self-awareness, communication and personal finance management.
School and social integration of adolescent victims of trafficking in Ho Chi Minh City
According to Vietnamese regulations, the young people welcomed in the CTSE in Ho Chi Minh City must leave the shelter at their 16th birthday. Our social worker Trang offers individual orientation sessions once a month for children aged 15. They also take the RIASEC test to define their profile, identify their interests, skills and aspirations. Trang uses this test to identify vocational training opportunities with the youth.
In addition, we organize awareness and personal development sessions. During the 9 personal development sessions organized in the 2nd semester of 2022, the young people addressed the topics of emotion regulation, self-awareness, rights and duties at work, candidacy, life skills, etc.
The three awareness sessions focused on children's rights, human trafficking and the tricks used by traffickers to lure children.
We will therefore continue over the next few months with awareness raising, training, social assistance for families and individual monitoring of children.