I was first introduced to One Body Village (USA) in 2011 when I visited Vietnam for the first time with my family. My parents struggled to make ends meet since they came to Canada in the 1970s and I grew up with very little. I graduated from Nursing and decided to work for an entire year to save money and take my parents back to Vietnam. There, I met a friend who introduced me to One Body Village. She told me stories of parents who willingly sold their children (for begging, for their virginity) for as little as $200 USD. I returned with heartache and despair thinking about these children who looked like me, spoke my language, had hopes and dreams like me but were cursed being born into poverty. I felt lucky and guilty at the same time being born in Canada where even though my family was considered in the "lower class", I had all the opportunities to achieve my hopes and dreams. Putting children's hopes, dreams and potential aside, I could not shake the horror of learning the atrocities committed against these children. If they were not raped by their own fathers, brothers, uncles or neighbours, they were raped by strange local and foreign men 15-20 times a day.
The subject of human and sex trafficking is indeed heavy. However, meeting these children 6 years ago changed my life. Their hopefulness for a better tomorrow is uplifting. Their perseverance through their suffering is humbling. The potential that they have and continue to achieve with the care given by One Body Village is what motivates me to keep fighting for them.
The intent of my Southeast Asia Volunteer Trip is to share with you the meaningful experiences that I had 6 years ago that inspired and motivated me to stand up for these children. From meeting survivors of human trafficking, to engaging with locals in impoverished communities where are children were rescued from, and to meeting our children and joining our OBV family, I hope that I can inspire you to pursue your dream and passion to make a difference!
We can't win the fight against child sexual exploitation alone, but TOGETHER, we are stronger than slavery.
I hope to see YOU next year! Stay tuned on our social media for the latest information!
President, One Body Village Canada