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Friday, 26 August 2016 23:57


You've been with us for over a month now, and when we ask you what your biggest hopes and dreams are, you reply earnestly that you'd like to go back to school. 16 years old with a grade 3 education. We can't meet up with your parents, as it'll only bring danger and further troubles for you: your father can abuse your further, your mother does not have the capabilities to protect you, your risk of abuse and being sold is extremely high. And you don't have a single piece of can we help you?

Right now, all you need is just one piece of paper: your birth certificate, so that we can register you to go to school. Yet the officials at the ward where you were born still can't get hold of this important document. They're all insisting that we need a relative to come with us to clarify your existence before they release this paperwork.

Who is your closest relative? You don't remember. We have people for the people's committee and the police station searching for someone...anyone. After going around in circles, they finally remember that your case was reported 3 years ago, a rape victim at the age of 13...only then did they provide the address of your uncle, a person whom you trust.

A long trip later, we make it to his house. But as always, it is never just that simple. It's lunchtime and your uncle is already drunk. He won't listen to us. He doesn't trust us. He won't let you go, in case we sell you.

We have no choice but to wait until he is sober again, to ask him about this one document we desperately need to send you back to school.

When will he wake up from his drunken stupor? When will you be able to finally go back to school? When will all the troubles that you've seen in your life go away? When will you have a future??? When....?

July 18, 2016

OBV Vietnam

Translated by Jacqueline Huynh.  The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Biết Đến Khi Nào?"

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