We directly intercepted Jia with our Change Agent activities from being trafficked. Change Agents are empowered survivors of sexual exploitation joining the fight against sexual exploitation. They organize meet-up activities and provide information to communities about trafficking and sexual exploitation as well as tell their own stories.
Jia is a 15-year-old girl living in Vientiane province in Laos. She only finished grade 7 because her family is poor and they could not afford to send her to school. Jia’s mother is the one who works and raises the family. Her father is an alcoholic and usually beats up her mother.
One day a trafficker named Orn visited Jia’s family. She persuaded Jia’s father to have Jia marry a rich Chinese man and go to China. The trafficker, a woman named Orn, said that Jia could visit home once a year and send 1000 yuan (approx. 150 USD) every month back to the family. Orn also told Jia’s father that this Chinese man lived in Kunming and owned a noodle factory. If the father agreed, the Chinese man would come to Lao PDR to marry the girl and manage travel documents for Jia in order to go to China. The Chinese man would give 50 million LAK (approx. 4,600 USD) for dowry. Orn gave 500,000 LAK (approx. 44 USD) to the father and said that it was for a coffee or tea while he was considering.
Jia’s father told Orn about his niece who married a Chinese man and went to China. His niece had been in China for 7 years and could not contact her family. The family only knew that she was locked up and couldn’t go anywhere. Orn promised that Jia would be her responsibility and taken care of.
Jia told her mother about Orn. Her mother told Jia’s father that she didn’t want Jia to go to China, but her father wanted her to go. Her parents then fought with one another about the decision. Jia’s father sneakily met up with Orn and received a part of the dowry which was 2 million LAK (approx. 192 USD).
Orn later told Jia’s mother to prepare the girl for marriage and that the Chinese man and his family would pick her up in January 2022. The mother told Orn that she would not let her daughter get married and go to China. Orn warned that she would have to pay the debt given to Jia’s father, doubled the debt of the dowry, and threatened her.
Jia didn’t want to go to China. Poupee, one of the Change Agents visiting the village, told Jia her experience in China and invited Jia to join the Change Agent meeting-up activities. Our partners and Change Agents told Jia about the trafficking of Laos girls in China and told her to contact them if her family was threatened. They can build up a case and evidence from the threats.
After joining the activity organized by the Change Agents, Jia decided not to marry a Chinese man and go to China. She discussed with her parents about the info she had received during the meet-up activity. At present, she is still in her community. She is also willing to join our partners empowerment program in the future.