Youth plan and execute a professional event, learn from mentors and the experience, and gain a philanthropic education. Read about our approach.
We make slavery an urgent problem. Without awareness or urgency, we can’t end slavery. Read about the experience.
donated to beneficiaries
young people engaged
donated to beneficiaries
young people engaged
The first arrest in Nepal’s history of an orphanage owner on charges of child trafficking.
Blue Dragon rescued over 400 children from slavery by the end of 2015. In many cases, children from Vietnam are trafficked into China to work in forced prostitution or sweat shops.
Phuong* is 16 years old and studying in Grade 10. Every morning she catches a bus to school, but no one could ever imagine the trauma she suffered two years ago. Phuong is from an ethnic minority community living in a mountainous district in northern Vietnam. Like most other families in her isolated and remote village, they lived in extreme poverty. Phuong and her brother decided to leave school, find jobs and support their family so their two younger siblings could stay in school. Phuong felt lucky to get a job straight away in a restaurant in a town close by. After a few months, she was quite homesick and decided to catch a bus to visit her family. She passed the journey chatting to a young couple, joining them for tea at a halfway stop. Phuong does not remember what happened next. She believes the two strangers must have put something in her drink. When she woke up, she found herself in a dark room. Someone came in and told her that she was now in China, in a brothel. Her captors told Phuong that they had paid a lot of money to buy her, so she had a responsibility to work hard and not complain. For the next six months, Phuong suffered unimaginable pain and torment; the brothel owners enforced a quota of clients each day, and if she failed to reach it she was beaten. Phuong describes this time of her life as a ‘hell on earth’. She thought many times about killing herself. At some point during her captivity, Phuong managed to get access to a phone. She immediately called her parents. Blue Dragon received a call for help via the police near her family’s village. Our Rescue Team put an escape plan into action and Phuong was soon travelling back across the border to Vietnam and into the waiting arms of her family. Blue Dragon has stood by her side since then, providing counselling, therapeutic activities and all the support she needs to get back on her feet. Phuong recently joined a group of survivors of sex-trafficking on a three day retreat, where they were able to share experiences, take part in team building exercises and spend some time in a quiet environment. This gave Phuong the confidence she needed to decide to go back to school. With Blue Dragon’s support, she has moved to a better school and regularly attends our activities. She is doing her best at school and wants to study to become a pharmacist. Phuong reports that these days she is more self-confident and feels better-equipped to deal with her day-to-day problems. She is gradually returning to being the outgoing, cheerful young woman she was before she was trafficked.
“Happy Home”, an orphanage in Nepal, first came to public attention in 2013. Its primary proprietor, Bishwa Acharya, was revealed to have been confining over 90 children in exploitative and abusive circumstances in the orphanage. The parents of many of these children, some of whom as young as four years old, were tricked into giving up their children with promises of education and opportunity.
In conjunction with our partner charity Freedom Matters, as well as with other local associates, we launched our own undercover investigation into the orphanage’s operations. In the course of the investigation we brought to light powerful evidence of child trafficking from poor villages on trekking routes to the north.
In February 2014, Bishwa was arrested and his crimes exposed. He was prosecuted on child trafficking charges, the first instance in Nepal’s history, returning more than 90 children back to their families.
The first law to be written in India specifically to address circus trafficking and child slavery.
One of our focuses in recent years has been a lesser-known type of modern slavery: circus trafficking. Children were trafficked daily from Nepal into India to join circuses as child performers. With essentially no wages, children at an average age of eight were trapped behind high metal fences, and forced to undergo physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
In 2011, RTST organisers approached the Esther Benjamins Trust, a charity founded by Philip Holmes in memory of his late wife, to support Philip's work emancipating children working in awful conditions in circuses.
In three years, Philip and his team used RTST funds to launch a series of rescue programs aimed at creating a legal precedent against the trafficking of thousands of children into circuses in India. After meticulous preparation and evidence gathering, Philip petitioned the Indian Supreme Court to outlaw the use of child performers. That ruling was finally made in April 2012 – children under the age of 18 could no longer be trained as circus performers.
Providing an outlet and sustainable future to survivors of sex slavery and exploitation.
Our outreach in humanitarian causes has extended into another trafficking-thriving region in Asia – Cambodia. Cambodia attracts an unbelievable number of traffickers both internationally and locally. The government reports that there are at least 34,000 commercial sex workers in Cambodia - likely a gross underestimation - with as many as one third under the age of 18.
To combat this scourge, we partnered with AFESIP Cambodia, an organization that works to secure the rights of those victimized by human trafficking and sex slavery, and that works to provide a path to successfully rehabilitate and reintegrate these survivors.
We helped support three rehabilitative centres across Cambodia that provide transitional shelter and support to men and women rescued from exploitation, a critical pipeline out of abuse. These centers provide community, health and psychological care, as well as vocational skill training (financial literacy, handcraft, English language, computer skills, etc) to build a platform for independence and sustainable reintegration.