On receipt of an email from uncle (an endearing term I use for Father Thong) about a request for help from OBV as their daughter has been missing for over two weeks along with her friend also in 8th grade, I tried to find a way to contact the victim's family and arranged a meeting the next day at their home, which is close to mine.
Within about 15 minutes, I received another email from the mother which started with an apology before enquiring about the fees we charge for finding and rescuing her daughter so the family can try to work something out. Honestly, I was quite stunned to receive this email. Luckily, she apologised first. I responded that OBV operates as a non-profit organisation, so if it is within our capacity we will do all we can to assist for free and assured her that the family should not be concerned about this. (When we met later, I realised why she had asked such a question.)
In order to raise the awareness about child sex trafficking, One Body Village is distributing the “Musical Play THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND” DVD FREE of charge.
In the last few days I had been receiving e-mails from Father Martino with the approval to let guests visit our OBV home in Vietnam. A lady called us when she was still in the U.S. to express her excitement and enthusiasm to meet the children.
Mrs. Hoang Ngo and her family.
Two days later a call came in from Mrs. Ngo's Vietnamese phone number and we decided on a time and place to meet. When she asked if the children would like to have anything, I answered, "Your visiting us is more than enough." But she insisted on some kind of gift, so my response was, "Anything edible and usable." She spent that whole afternoon to buy rice, milk, oil and hygienic articles for the girls. Her enthusiasm was so overwhelming that it aroused my suspicion. Just to make sure, I asked her about the e-mails from her side. She stated not knowing of any e-mails because her nephew was the one who had sent them. I asked further for his name, but she wavered and could not answer.
A year ago One Body Village was chosen to be the 2013-2014 Grant recipient from Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations, a non-profit, community-based organization founded in 2004 of Vietnamese undergraduates, graduates, and young professionals.
And... toward the end of the eleventh annual leadership conference from July 24 – 27, 2014, the CPP team of UNAVSA presented to OBV president a BIG CHECK of $85,849.88 — the largest amount UNAVSA had ever raised for its CPP recipient in the last 10 years. The VSA at George Mason University (Virginia) was named the TOP for raising more than 8 thousand dollars, and together with other Vietnamese Student Associations in the Mid-Atlantic region (MAUVSA) they raised more than 25 thousand dollars for this year CPP.
The grant will help OBV to push stronger in our effort to prevent, rescue, raise and rehabilitate young male victims of child sex trafficking.
OBV appreciates UNAVSA's recognition of OBV Mission and Vision, and looks forward to our close collaboration in the coming year.
One Body Village
OBV employees, collaborators, and OBV children would like to congratulate you on the 9th anniversary of your ordination.
We all hope that you are always happy and healthy to lead OBV so that the organization could grow steadily and accomplish its noble mission.
May God bless you always.
Below are the few line jotted down by Lee Channimol, One of our new project staff in Cambodia.
This is my first opportunity to work with OBV to help sexual slavery victims. I am truly happy. This was always my ambition since I was a student. However, I was still so worry when I started working with OBV. I did not know what to do to help. I always tell my self to keep it up. I am so lucky to have the support and encouragement from family and friends.
I started my first case with two little girls in my village. When I decided to go see them, I was worried that they would think I had a bad intention. After our talk, the family more open and allow me to help them. I will go into further details in my next post.
I love and value what I do. I will try harder and help people as much as I can.
Translated by Miny Truong. Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Tôi Đồng Hành cùng OBV"
In many ways, Nicole was a typical teenager. In high school she tried cigarettes and alcohol, but she says, "I was pretty much a good kid. I didn't really stay out late, I always came home, I never stole anything. I did what a lot of teenagers do."
By age 17, however, things were deteriorating at home. Her parents were divorced, her father was absent, and she and her mother had an on-again, off-again relationship. That's when Nicole met a man who took her shopping and showered her with attention. "He was gorgeous and he had charm," she said. "I didn't really think he was going to turn out to be..." Her voice trailed off as she tried to find words to describe Juan Vianez, the pimp who forced her into prostitution and later brutally beat her.
It was a weekend afternoon, and also the end of the month. Mrs Đỗ Thu Trang and her daughter Ái Linh from America returned to Vietnam, and came to visit the OBV children. On the long road, mother and daughter drove around in a Honda asking for directions, with the bright beating sun leaving them quite sweaty. However, as she said, all fatigue disappeared when they saw the children.
Master Thinh Pham
On the night of May 10, 2014, by invitation of The Assistant Bui Phat Parish Priest, Bridge to Happiness Center had a chance to talk with the parents in Parish about the topic "Sharing The Burden of Studies With Your Children." It was spoken by the speaker of the Center, Pham Phuc Thinh. Below is the sharing of him after the conference.
The topic "Sharing The Burden of Studies With Your Children" is the topic that I have cared and nurtured for so long. I want to make it to help the children can learn less time and have the feeling that study is not too scary, but fun.
Last month, the FBI asked for the public's help in a case involving a suspected serial child predator who for years taught in private international schools overseas. The suspect committed suicide after his employer saw pornographic images on his thumb drive, but as part of our subsequent investigation—when we began the process of identifying and notifying the victims shown in these images—we also asked that possible victims and others who may have information come forward, not only to aid investigators but to potentially access our victim assistance services.
On the 10th Anniversary of your Priesthood (2004 - June 5 - 2014), we would like to thank you for your loving example of self-sacrifice and generous service to One Body Village.
You are another Christ to your flock. May you be richly blessed!