CAMPAIGN AGAINST  CHILD SEX EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING

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Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:00

Future for You

Their innocent smiles when wearing new dresses

A five-year-old little girl lives with her father who works as a mechanic. Her parents had separated when she was one. Her mother could no longer endure her father's drunkenness and gambling habit so she left to go back to her village carrying with her an unborn child in her womb. Her mother works as a hired hand here and there scraping enough to support herself day by day as she lives in humiliation. As for the little girl, she lives with her father in a dilapidated and unfurnished rental unit. Her means of support is dependent on what her father brings home on that day from inflating and patching up tires for customers in the area. The little girl is five, but she doesn't get to go to school. She doesn't know any children songs or rhymes, nor does she have any toy. On a daily basis, she hangs around her father's auto shop; her toy is a rock or whatever else she might pick up.

According to information from the press, we came to find the little girl. She is a little girl of five, an age too young to suffer so much physical and psychological pain. Early last May, in the midst of another bout of drunkenness, her father raped her. In tremendous pain, she did not know what just happened to her. She cried out in pain, an immense pain. The next day after the incident, while she played near her father's store, a neighbor saw her blood soaked pants so she asked what happened to her. She replied, "I am bleeding in my butt; it hurts a lot." Then the neighbor continued to ask, "So, has your father bought you any medication to take?" The little girl replied, " Yes, Ma'am." No one was suspicious because they just thought maybe the little girl had dysentery. These well-intentioned neighbors mentioned to her father that he should take the little girl for a check-up since she was bleeding a lot and it could be harmful to her health. The father became fearful after hearing these comments so he ruthlessly drove her far away with the purpose of abandoning the little girl. Thereafter, he even went "to confide" with his lover and did not have any regards to the life and death situation of his child. Because the little girl met a good person she was able to return home to her family. With many suspicious marks on her body, the father was summoned and detained awaiting trial. Because the little girl had been sexually abused both vaginally and anally, her situation is worse off. She has both vulvar infection and is torn inside. When the little girl returned home, her mother, from the distant countryside, came to visit the child; along with her mother is her sister younger by one year. The three finally meet after 4 years apart. Partly because of the mother's poor health, she could only find enough work to barely support herself. Because she could not afford to feed her children, the mother had sent her youngest daughter to another family who could raise her. It's amazing when the two sisters finally meet; both are so engrossed with each other as if wishing never to separate. With her family around, the little girl is not as psychologically impaired. She can now eat, talk, and laugh. Seeing the sisters reunited sends a pang of pain in our hearts. It is such a pitiful situation.

Due to her health situation the little girl will need to be monitored and will require many test procedures. Because she is still psychologically fragile, what she needs most at this time is the love from her mother to give her a sense of security. This is the best therapy for the little girl at this time. Within a short time frame when she is more stabled psychologically and health wise, we will bring the two sisters to One Body Village so they may begin a new life.  The younger sister will help the older sister to heal psychologically and to integrate into One Body Village family more easily. One thing to note is that her mother can not afford to raise the child as she was living with her grandmother for the mother to feel assured to work far from home. As her grandmother is now also old and frail, she may not be able to protect the children. Young children are at a high risk of being sexually abused if preventive measures are not taken in a non-safe environment. Therefore One Body Village follows the idiom of "if already rescuing, then rescue all the way" instead of waiting until after the incident has already happened to rescue, then it would be very cruel and unfortunate. We have held a long thorough meeting regarding this case where we have discussed different options, treatment plans, and methods on how to raise the children. Everyone knows that the mission of One Body Village is to save and raise the children; teaching them career skills to help victims of child- sex slavery to reintegrate into society. So today what we can do?

We are the people who directly find and raise the children according to their needs and age group. The children, regardless of their age, all have certain difficulties. For those children who are still in diapers and can not take care of themselves, there are Sisters and Lay Apostolate who take care of them. In general, all the children are gradually educated to be independent. As for the older children, besides being educated in culture, they still need to be understood psychologically and nurtured in the most suitable manner for them. They need to be taught how to properly live, to realize their self worth, and have a good heart to later become a good person.

Today I returned to find them again, but this time I went with Mother Ngoc. She wanted to visit the little girl and to discuss with her family as to how the little girl will be received and educated at One Body Village. The children and family will have to comply with the rules and regulations set forth by One Body Village. The purpose of these regulations are to protect the children so they may grow and develop in a wholesome way. We hope that the children in One Body Village will always love and care for each other.

We pray that God will bless Father and Mother with good health and will bring peace to our benefactors, those who have contributed and helped One Body Village with our mission.

May 20, 2014

An Hoa

Translated by Hanh Nguyen.  Revised from Vietnamese article entilted "Tương lai cho em"

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