Lê Thị Lan, a Vietnamese woman who was a victim to human trafficking, was recently reunited with her family in Nghi Lộc District, Nghệ An Province, Vietnam. She lived as a victim for 24 years before a Facebook video which featured her story got her the help she needed. After the necessary authorities were alerted, Lan was recovered and safely taken back to her home.
Lan was only 19 years old when she was tricked into a human trafficking scheme. She had been working as hired labor in the Nghĩa Đàn District in order to support her family when she was contacted. It began by being trafficked to the Thanh Hóa Province then eventually to China’s Guangxi Province.
Initially, she was ‘bought’ by a 65-year-old man for $300 or around Php 15,300. In the 13 years she spent with him she was said to have been regularly abused and beaten, and forced to have 4 children with him. Though she tried to escape numerous times it was futile. He supposedly even drugged and locked her up in a dark room in order to mitigate her memories.
Eventually, she was sold to a second man with whom she lived with for 11 years. While this man is said to have treated her better, even giving her an allowance, she was still not allowed her freedom and restricted from returning home.
Thankfully, Lan was able to meet a fellow Vietnamese woman from the Hòa Bình Province in July. After hearing her story, the woman posted Lan’s video on Facebook with the hopes of it reaching Lan’s family and anyone who could help. And it did!
After becoming something of a viral video, it was viewed by Lan’s sister-in-law Đặng Thị Thảo. Lan was not able to speak fluent Vietnamese anymore or remember all of the details, but she was able to share her parents’ names and her hometown which triggered some recognition from her sister-in-law.
Thảo explains, “At first I did not recognize her, but when I heard she talk about the home address, the names of parents, sisters, and brothers, I knew it was my sister-in-law.” The family then reached out to Lan, confirming her identity and helping to recover her memories. It was through the help of the proper authorities, and Lan’s cooperation with them, that she was able to return home.
Lan’s 69-year-old mother, Nguyễn Thị Liên, was emotional in expressing how she couldn’t believe she finally found her daughter: “I thought that I would never see her again. I couldn’t sleep last night because I kept thinking of the moment my daughter come back. My family want to express our sincere thanks to the media who have helped spread news about my daughter that lead to the reunion.”
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