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Our Blog

No rest for the wicked

On Christmas Eve, just as many of you were beginning your holidays, I was going back to work in the mountains of northern Vietnam. Although Vietnam lies within the tropics, winter here in the mountains can be bitterly cold, as I experienced during my initial...

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Inspiration

Kim neung con bo sep. That's a Laotian phrase I encountered recently, which was translated for me as: When you eat alone, it's not delicious. For the past five months I've been working alone. I've had zero face-to-face contact with my collaborators on The Human, Earth...

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Losing my teeth

One month ago, I was concerned I'd become too deeply entangled in the life of my Hmong friend P, a recent survivor of human trafficking. I couldn't see how to step away. After we'd returned from our road trip, and the violent stalker Lucky Charm had made his unwelcome...

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M’s dilemma VII: Swirling uncertainties

After five long and frustrating months spent trying to arrange her rescue, I was told my trafficked Hmong friend M had fallen pregnant to her Chinese "husband" for a second time. If the rumour was true, it could very well be our last chance to bring her home. I was...

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M’s dilemma VI: Game over

On Monday 6th October, after four long and frustrating months, my friend Charlie and I finally had an opportunity to organise the rescue of my trafficked Hmong friend M, who would then be returned to Vietnam under the auspices of the Hanoi-based NGO Blue Dragon.M,...

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M’s dilemma V: A golden opportunity

It had been two months since I'd spoken to my trafficked Hmong friend M. M's planned rescue had been cancelled after the Chinese "husband" who'd bought her had been alerted to her intentions. I had stopped calling M in the hopes that his suspicions would subside. The...

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M’s dilemma IV: Burden in my hand

At the last possible moment, I'd cancelled the rescue of my trafficked Hmong friend M from the "husband" who had bought her in China. I'd given M hope, and it had proved to be a very dangerous thing. M's "husband" had been alerted to her intention to leave and,...

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M’s dilemma III: Mountains beyond mountains

Late last year, I spoke with a friend about climbing mountains and running marathons. A parallel was drawn with The Human, Earth Project - in a sense, the Project has been a way of testing myself, and discovering where my limits lie. How far was I willing to go before...

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M’s dilemma II: Nowhere to turn

M’s dilemma II: Nowhere to turn

For the first time in almost three years, my friend M - trafficked from Vietnam and sold as a wife in China - had been given the power to determine her own fate. The decision that confronted her, however, was a decision no mother should ever have to make - a choice...

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M’s dilemma

M’s dilemma

Is human trafficking necessarily an evil? Is there any situation in which trafficking could help, rather than harm, its victims? What if, for example, the only way to give my trafficked friend M her freedom was to help bring home her Chinese-born child - which would...

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When roosters lay eggs

The Hmong people here in northern Vietnam have been raised in mountain villages of extreme gender bias, alcoholism and abuse. For many of the young Hmong women who have come to town, almost anything is preferable to marrying a local Hmong man and returning to life in...

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Beyond all limits

Beyond all limits

Over the past year, there have been countless antagonists in our story - human traffickers, paedophiles, and those who would rent or buy women. Now, however, P and I have a more immediate menace. He has a weapon, a gang, and a lust for violence. He knows our names,...

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A can of worms

It is a strange moment in history for the Hmong people of our little valley, and this is quite likely The Human, Earth Project's most bizarre episode ever. One of the reasons that the women here are so vulnerable to human trafficking is that their options here at home...

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From the ashes

From the ashes

P is no longer a victim of human trafficking - she is a survivor, and I'm here to ensure she does more than merely survive. It's not just a matter of helping her find a job and a place to stay - P needs to find the confidence, self-esteem and sense of self that have...

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A glimpse of Asia

A glimpse of Asia

Today I have a surprise for you all. First, however, I'd like to reveal something of the inner workings of The Human, Earth Project.Over the past eighteen months, The Human, Earth Project has entailed all the demands of managing a business, with none of the returns....

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No secrets

No secrets

It's now the second week since P's return home, and we've been busy putting her life back together. P was to come home with the assistance of Blue Dragon, a Hanoi-based NGO which offers a thorough range of services to assist survivors of human trafficking, including...

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