Free the Slaves’ success has always relied on one critical element: engaging grassroots partner organizations that are part of the community to build community-driven solutions.
To help address human trafficking in Vietnam, FTS has just formed a partnership with HopeBox, a social enterprise in Hanoi that empowers women who are victims and survivors of abuse and modern slavery. FTS, in partnership with HopeBox, has launched a pilot program to teach five trafficking survivors skills to become financially independent.
The majority of female victims in Vietnam are trafficked to China as brides and sex workers. In Malaysia, Vietnamese women are one-third of trafficking victims and number one for foreign sex workers. Vietnam is also the largest supplier of foreign brides for Taiwanese and South Korean men.
To build financial resilience for Vietnamese trafficking survivors who’ve returned home, the new program utilizes the economic and capacity-building activities of HopeBox so participants can rebuild their lives and and choose a pathway after they graduate.
One option is the employability pathway, where the beneficiaries will attend technical sessions that will equip them to be highly employable in the hospitality and food industry. After participants graduate, HopeBox and its local partners will help them find jobs.
The second pathway is business creation, where beneficiaries who choose to start a business will be supported with technical sessions in making food products and learn skills in kitchen operations and inventory management. HopeBox will assist the beneficiaries in making sure that their products can pass quality standards of partners in the airline and supermarket industries.
“We are very glad that FTS put their trust in HopeBox to support a program for women who are victims of trafficking to get back a life that they long deserved,” said HopeBox Project and Finance Manager Linh Nguyen. “These women had dreams that were shattered because of their experiences as victims of trafficking. But with the right support and program, we believe that they will be able to stand again and live their simple dreams for their families.”
Over the next six months, the partnership between FTS and HopeBox hopes to bring a renewed life and beginning to these women survivors of trafficking in Vietnam. We will keep you posted in the coming months with FTS blog posts on the progress participants make.
Romcy Madronio is the Free the Slaves regional manager for Southeast Asia