Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation has the primary concern of getting children in crisis out of dangerous situations. From providing services for street kids to rescue missions for trafficked kids and support for their recovery and growth, Blue Dragon provides a critical service that is unique to Vietnam. The Australian charity was established in Hanoi in response to the need among street youth in Hanoi. Blue Dragon continues to be the main service provider for these kids, with a team of social workers, psychologists, teachers and lawyers that are able to focus on each child’s individual needs.
They are the only organisation in the country that rescues children who are victims of human trafficking and slavery. These kids are often children from rural areas living in extreme poverty. Blue Dragon’s primary concern is to get these kids out of danger, reunite them with their families whenever possible and then offer support for recovery and growth, with a more recent focus on awareness and prevention in high-risk communities.
Blue Dragon’s founder, Michael Brosowski AM, has been living in Vietnam for over 10 years and has a deep understanding of the social issues the country faces as well as lots of hands-on experience in assisting kids in crisis. The group started informally in 2003 with some friends and volunteers teaching English to street youth and opening a shelter. In 2005 a drop-in centre was opened and they conducted their first rescue of a trafficked child. To date Blue Dragon has rescued approximately 300 children and youth from trafficking, and serve more than 1500 children, primarily in central and northern Vietnam.
Dien Bien Province Rescue Project
The Morris Family Foundation supports Blue Dragon’s work in the remote north-west province in Vietnam. Dien Bien sits between Laos and China and is highly vulnerable to trafficking. Much of the population belong to ethnic minority groups and over half are classified as living in poverty. (Average monthly income in the province is just $24 AUD.) From Blue Dragon’s experience – every commune in the province has been subjected to human trafficking. Some recount heartbreaking stories where dozens of children have been taken away with no adult knowing where they have gone.
In 2011 the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (the anti-trafficking police) sought Blue Dragon’s expertise in assisting with the location and rescue of 23 children, aged 11 – 18, from Dien Bien province who had been trafficked into garment factories in Ho Chi Minh City. The challenging project of addressing the case of large-scale trafficking in Dien Bien province was established and funded in 2013 by the Morris Family Foundation.
Since the project began, Blue Dragon’s team have conducted 12 rescue trips bringing home 89 Dien Bien children from garment factories, as well as 12 girls who had been trafficked into China for sex slavery.
In addition to the rescue missions, Blue Dragon has been working to prevent the region’s children from becoming targets for future trafficking. This involves education and capacity building in the rural area. Working with the provincial police, local government, schools and community members, Blue Dragon aims to prevent trafficking, forced labour, and imprisonment of children by empowering the local community to identify, prevent and investigate human trafficking. The alleviation of conditions of poverty will also play a role, and Blue Dragon provides relief for families experiencing hardship, including school fee subsidies, provision of rice, bicycles for getting to school and building houses. Enabling children to attend school will help to keep them safe and in the future. Blue Dragon would like to further their efforts to solve this tragic social dilemma and address the cycle of poverty by introducing income-generating activities for families in the area.