CAMPAIGN AGAINST  CHILD SEX EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 15:58

Mom, have they sentenced him yet?

(image from thanhnien.com)

At her age, she should have been playing games, or with her dolls. Instead, she was stalked and prayed upon with unwanted phone calls and letters from Mr. B.

Since she was born to the age of 13 years old, her daughter had been subjected to a series of woes. From traffic accidents to severe burns, to falling into the river. The mother was unable to keep her daughter safe anymore.

To raise her daughter, the matter had to leave their home town of Ca Mau for a job in Binh Duong. One day, the daughter called her mother to report he had been raped by her neighbour, Mr. B. Shocked, the mother left her job and headed home immediately. Arriving home, she saw her daughter was lost, withdrawn into herself.

She placed their trust into the law, and filed a report to the district police. The report was escalated to their highest ranked officer. Her daughter was co-operative and provided testimonies over and over to officers.

Her mother's heart sank as she listened to her daughter's words. What Mr. B had done to her. What she had been through. How Mr. B had followed her, and stalked her with letters and phone calls. Seducing her young fragile mind with promises of a good life. He lured and got her into his room, giving her money and drugs to smoke until she was addicted. She could recall the interior of his room. She remembered the details of his body.

But everything suddenly got held up. They cited their reasons for stopping the investigations as "not enough evidence to prove Mr. B had raped and abused Ho Mong K".

The official decision came out on November 2017, two months after the report was initially filed. Her mother felt betrayed by the justice system and didn't know how she could survive. Mr. B had gotten away with the most evil of crimes. She hid the ruling from her daughter, to keep her daughter living with hope.

Day in and day out, her daughter would ask 'Have they sentenced Mr. B yet?'. Her mother only had one single word as her reply "wait", before turning away, afraid of the next questions her daughter may asking, causing her to break down and disclose everything.

One day, she lost it. She started throwing things, breaking possessions, and ran to Mr. B's house, yelling screaming, cursing... She had finally found out about the ruling.

She didn't wake up the next day. When her mother came in to check on her, she looked up from her bed and whispered 'I took all the drugs'. Her mother ran to their medicine cabinet, and indeed, she had taken whatever drugs she had found, including her grandmother's medication for high blood pressure, arthritis, stomach issues... Her family rushed her to the ER, but it was too late. She left her cruel reality the next day, February 11th, 2017.

The mother's pain did not end there. She nearly passed out from grief when a letter fell out from the clothes hanging off her daughter's stiffened body. "I am about to leave this Earth. I won't rest until my story is resolved." It went on to tell of her desire for justice.

Their evenings were always a good time for the mother. It was when their little family would get together for dinner. Now she was afraid of evenings. It was when her daughter's voice and presence haunted her. I won't rest until my story is resolved, she had written. Was she around us now?

She would think about how her daughter had always dreamed of being a singer, a writer, and then a medical doctor. She had laughed at the dreams back then. After all, their family was so poor, yet her daughter insisted on having big dreams.

She choked on her tears, remembering the little clues her daughter would give, such as asking her 'Mom...what are sideburns? Why do some men have long ones, and some have short ones?'

Now it was clear that at the time, the sideburns were those of Mr. B's. Her daughter had been in danger just from being in the presence of him. But. the mother had been in denial, convincing herself that it was in everyone's best interest that she continue to work.

"Oh my daughter...please forgive me. I failed to keep you under a warm roof with a father and myself. I wasn't able to protect you from the evil dressed as a human. I hope and pray that parents will be able to learn from this and protect their children like I failed too."

You are so far away now, and I can no longer do anything else for you. I can't even squeeze your hand and tell you it will be okay.

But one thing I can do, is continue to fight for you, and make sure you get the justice that you deserve.

March 15, 2015

by Huu Thi Loi

Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung.  The original article in Vietnamese from phunuonline 'Mẹ ơi, các chú xử tới đâu rồi? Ông B. gần bị bắt chưa'

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