USAID / VIETNAM : Stopping Trafficking Before It Starts

 

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Challenge

vietnamtrafficThrough scholarships and job placement assistance USAID helps to improve life options for women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking.

In Vietnam, where the costs associated with primary schooling pose a great financial burden on poor families, severe poverty limits educational opportunities for girls. Girls who have dropped out of school must often help their families bear financial burdens, yet with limited education and no vocational skills, they find few options for work.

Through scholarships and job placement assistance USAID helps to improve life options for women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking.

These girls are prime targets for traffickers, who lure them across the Cambodian border with promises of jobs as nannies or waitresses in Phnom Penh and other parts of the country. Once in Cambodia, they may be trapped in brothels and forced into prostitution. The Vietnamese government is committed to preventing the trafficking of vulnerable girls through programs such as the one described below.

Initiative

Prevention programs address the factors that put specific groups and individuals at risk for human trafficking. Since 2005, USAID has supported Vietnamese efforts to prevent trafficking of girls and women in the Mekong Delta by improving their life options. The An Giang/Dong Thap (ADAPT) Alliance is a girls’ education program implemented by the Pacific Links Foundation (PALS), International Children Assistance Network (ICAN), and East Meets West Foundation.

ADAPT provides scholarships, vocational training, and job placement services to at-risk girls in three Vietnamese provinces along the Cambodian border. The scholarship program covers the cost of school fees, supplies, and after-school tutoring for at-risk girls from their entry into the program in 4th or 5th grade until their graduation from high school.

For girls who have already dropped out of school, ADAPT works with local businesses to provide vocational training and job placement services that cater to the local market, enabling participants to pursue stable employment with reasonable wages. For women and girls who have escaped prostitution, ADAPT provides comprehensive reintegration services – including counseling, vocational training, income earning opportunities, and health care – to prevent them from being trafficked again.

Results

The scholarship program, coupled with high levels of parental and community involvement, has led to a significant decrease in the school drop-out rate of at-risk girls. Also, the vocational component has resulted in job placement in the formal economy, thus contributing to increased incomes for vulnerable girls and their families.