Former refugee now fights for the poor
Dubai - Vuong set up Pacific Links Foundation in 2001, working to prevent the trafficking in and out of Vietnam.
The more we recognise the painful realities of our world, the more effective we can be in addressing and correcting them, said Diep Vuong, winner of the Global Citizen Award in Dubai, instituted by the international citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley and Partners.
A former refugee and stateless person who went on to graduate from Harvard University, Vuong then dedicated her life to helping those most affected by global inequality and its effects.
Vuong set up Pacific Links Foundation in 2001, working to prevent the trafficking in and out of Vietnam. The foundation runs a comprehensive range of effective counter-trafficking initiatives. Vuong and her team of about 25 members tirelessly serve and protect communities in Vietnam. Speaking to Khaleej Times, Vuong said:" Our main concern is to prevent human trafficking. So, we teach school children, who have not yet been victimised, about the risks of trafficking and how to identify that. We also work in collaboration with shelters that house trafficking victims. Our programmes are running in 170 schools in the Mekong Delta and central Vietnam. Education helps children become aware of their rights, it makes them less at risk to getting exploited."
"We have noticed that everyone has a strong desire to do better. We support them do different vocational courses and then help them get internships. Due to poverty, the youth is tricked into trafficking by being promised good jobs."
Talking about the her work, Vuong said: "Our preventative measures include education for at-risk women, youth leadership and empowerment training, and the Factory Awareness to Counter Trafficking (FACT) campaign, which works with multinational corporations to reduce forced labor and trafficking risks within their supply chain. Protective measures focus on the reintegration, rehabilitation, and upskilling of trafficking survivors. The foundation collaborates with key local, national, regional and international stakeholders, networks and communities to promote awareness about this widespread issue."
Upon receiving the award, Vuong said: "We live in a very globalised world where we are crossing borders very often so we should be aware of how to do that safely by being aware of ourselves and our surroundings. Human trafficking is the major issue of our time, representing the ugly side of globalisation. It is all-pervasive and yet largely ignored. The more we recognise the painful realities of our world, the more effective we can be in addressing and correcting them."