Empower Abused and Trafficked Vietnamese Women

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Some of the women you are supporting!
Some of the women you are supporting!

Thank you for giving to empower the lives of women.  With this update, we want to share a little bit about Nga*, a survivor who has recently arrived at Hagar Vietnam.  To protect her identity, we have changed her name.

By supporting these women, you have become a part of their story as they journey to recovery.

Nga, 16 years old, survivor of human trafficking, 1 month at Hagar

Nga is a new client who joined Hagar Vietnam in early August. She was trafficked to China last year when she was only 15. Due to the family’s poor economic situation, Nga’s mother wanted her to look for a job. An elderly woman living in the neighborhood approached Nga’s family and told Nga that she could work as a babysitter for the her daughter in China. Nga’s mother agreed to let her go with the woman’s son to China, hoping she could earn some money to support the family. However, as soon as Nga arrived in China she was sold to a brothel. The next 15 days were a horrible nightmare as she were sexually abused by many different men.

Nga tried desperately to contact her family back home. Nga’s parents finally received the shocking news and were able to contact police to rescue her. The 15 year-old girl returned home hopeless and afraid for her future. Nga became quiet, unmotivated, and depressed. She ate very little, slept a lot, and had almost no connection with others.

Through a referral by the Center for Communication and Counseling Services, Nga was introduced to Hagar Since then, she has received comprehensive services for recovery and empowerment including safe accommodation, health care, counseling, therapeutic art activities, and career orientation. Nga meets with her counselor every week to learn coping skills. Being very determined to be a hairdresser, Nga was recently selected to participate in a 9- month training course by L’Oreal. Nga has shown her excitement to start the very first step to build her own life in Hanoi. To support Nga to the fullest, her case manager visited her parents in her hometown, listened to their difficulties and explained about the services provided to Nga and urged them to encourage Nga to do her best.

Nga still has a very long way to go but we are so proud of her. If you’d like to continue the journey with survivors like Nga, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Join our “Pack for Traffick” Campaign. Who knew that packing a lunch could make a big difference in the lives of victims of trafficking? Learn more and get started at www.tinyurl.com/pack4traffick.
  2. Watch “The Storm Makers” (for free on PBS through the end of September) with some friends. This documentary, filmed in Cambodia, shows chilling viewpoints from traffickers and family members and depicts exactly why organizations like Hagar exist.

Thank you again!

Women like Linh find hope at Hagar
Women like Linh find hope at Hagar

Meet Linh.  Because of YOU Linh now has hope!

I wasn’t afraid of poverty. I didn’t know another way. What got me was the loneliness. Would my dream of a complete and happy family ever be reality? 

When I was little, my mom passed away. She wasn’t my real mother—but my adopted one. I’ve never known my biological family. Afterwards, my adoptive father stopped caring about everything in his life—including me. I was neglected and treated badly so I ran away, becoming homeless at fifteen. 

I fell in love with a guy I thought could turn things around for me. Although he didn’t have a job and we weren’t technically married, we were going to have a baby! We never expected our daughter to suffer from congenital heart disease. My boyfriend couldn’t handle the baby’s cries of painHe turned to alcohol and violence. Again, taking it out on me.  

I found Hagar in my darkest days. 

When Linh came to Hagar, it was clear her greatest need was her baby’s heart surgery. Together Hagar, along with East Meets West and a group of individual sponsors, were able to provide the treatment. Hagar also took Linh to the hospital for a check-up where it was discovered she had a tumor in her neck which needed attention. At first, Linh was frightened and unsure of whether or not she’d be able to get help because of everything that had just been given to her for her daughter. However, Hagar’s counselors helped to calm Linh, and she underwent her own successful surgery. 

Currently, Hagar is helping Linh secure an ID card—as well as her family record— so she can finally be an official Vietnamese citizen right as she celebrates her 33rd birthday. This will allow Linh to access the social services she needs to build a stable life. She’s also participating in a career orientation so she can start working. Linh can’t wait to be a hair dresser! 

According to Linh, if Hagar hadn’t been there to help her overcome her darkness, she’d still be living on the streets. Now she’s able to work hard to provide a good life for her child—one in which, unlike Linh, she’ll always know her mommy. 


“Hagar has been my second home. If it had not been for Hagar, my son would not have been born healthy and I would not have been able to start my life again”.  - Hong, 40-year-old survivor of domestic violence

“I’d been approaching many organizations before I reached out to Hagar because I couldn’t find any solution for my problems. Thanks to the introduction by the Child Helpline, I was able to come to you and together with your social worker, I’ve made my future plan. Hopefully together with your responsive support, my son and I can woke up after this nightmare.”  - Pham, 36-year-old survivor of domestic violence

Because of you!

  • New partnership and project approval from the Vietnamese Government! Hagar officially signed a new partnership with the Center for Counselling, Research and Empowering Community (CoRE), a local NGO with the mission of developing community through education and counselling programs, social work and other creative activities associated with indigenous culture. Through this partnership, Hagar aims to support CoRE with capacity building and together, implement Hagar’s Empowering Women for Life project, providing direct services to survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual exploitation in Vietnam.
  • New location for Hagar Recovery Centre. Hagar found a nice house with a large front yard in which to reopen its recovery centre. The home has four sleeping rooms for clients, including a family room for women who come with their children. All the rooms have been repainted, including one in purple as a tribute to dear, former CEO, Talmage Payne. We are now very excited to welcome our first clients in 2015.
  • Increase in number of referrals through local partners: A solid partnership with governmental organisations has always been key to NGO success in Vietnam and particularly for Hagar. The quality and holistic nature of Hagar’s services have made a good impression on beneficiaries and referral organisations which is demonstrated itself now in an increasing number of referrals. In December, four cases were to Hagar from local governmental organisations, including Women’s Union and Child Helpline of Vietnam.
Women training at JOMA Bakery
Women training at JOMA Bakery


Clients learn about product development
Clients learn about product development


  • In September, 22 women and youth from extremely difficult backgrounds, including human trafficking and domestic violence, attended a six-day business skills training course organised by Hagar’s Economic Empowerment department. The training equipped participants with basic business skills to strengthen their capacity and improve their economic situation. The program included sessions in business management and planning, marketing, product development, a value chain field visit and an introduction of social enterprise.
  • Hagar was able to share its work with a national audience! Hagar’s Psychology department cooperated with
    VTV2, a popular Vietnam Television channel, to produce an episode of the “Ky Nang Thoat Hiem” (Escape from Danger) TV programme. The episode focused on human trafficking in Vietnam and its influences on victims. Hagar’s psychologist shared about common challenges victims experience and techniques they can apply to support themselves before they can access professional support. The episode will be shared once English subtitles have been added.
  •  Hagar Vietnam hosted Hagar International’s Country Leader’s Meeting in mid-September. Events included a
    cocktail party to introduce Hagar’s leaders to Hagar Vietnam’s dearest friends, government and business
    partners in Hanoi. Fifty participants, including Hagar staff and Hagar Vietnam’s donors, government and business
    partners attended.
  • A new partnership was developed with the local NGO, Center for Counseling, Research and Empowering
    Community (CoRE) in Hanoi, to implement the “Empowering Women for Life” programme. This new relationship was formally approved by the government at the end of September. The programme takes Hanoi-based clients through the “whole journey” from victim to survivor. CoRE’s target group is young adults under 30. CoRE’s focus areas are mental health, essential life skills, planning and development, management of clubs and projects, leadership and organising skills, and specialised skills in social work and counselling. This partnership will enable Hagar Vietnam to open two new shelters in Hanoi to provide support to our clients more effectively.


 woman continues to work at JOMA
    woman continues her on-the job training as an accountant at JOMA
    woman started on-the-job-training at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel
    woman started on-the-job training at the Hanoi Westlake Intercontinental Hotel
    woman received reintegration support including living expenses and rental fees

27 Counseling sessions with women


In Their Own Words

“I agreed to take part in a TV programme on human trafficking to tell my story so that other vulnerable people will have courage to seek help and start their journey of recovery and development  the way I have been doing at Hagar.”
Thien, 21 year old survivor of labor trafficking

“I am very thankful to have Hagar support my sister and be with her through all the ups and downs. I know it is tough but you have been always trying very hard to empathise and encourage my sister.”
Ha’s elder brother. Ha is a 17 year-old survivor of domestic violence

“I find it very useful to participate in the business skills training course at Hagar. It helps me to better run my own small plate business as well as other business plans in the future.”
Na, 50 year old survivor of domestic violence

Women of a field trip exploring value chains
Women of a field trip exploring value chains
  • Hagar Vietnam participated as a panelist in the multi-stakeholder Roundtable Discussion on Human Trafficking and People Smuggling organized by the Australian Federal Police, Vietnam Ministry of Public Security and RMIT University. The platform allowed Hagar to share about work with trafficking police and law enforcement officers from 20 different countries.


  • 8 clients created art in a beginner’s painting course that has been delivered to Hagar New Zealand for anupcoming art auction.
  • 3 clients were accepted to a six-monthtraining in hospitality service organized byReach and a group of 5-star hotels in Hanoi 
  • 3 clients participated in job training that includedlearning skills like CV writing, interview techniques,job searching skills and professional behaviour in theworkplace

* 33 counselling sessions conducted with clients

Linh’s Story – “I am no longer alone”

Linh, 32, was introduced to Hagar in December 2013. She came to us with a two-year-old baby who had a congenitalheart disease. Linh had nothing and no one to call for help.

Linh had been adopted by a farming couple at a very young age. Her life totally changed when her adoptive motherpassed away. Depressed following his wife’s death, Linh’s adoptive father did not care about anything in his life,not even Linh. He neglected her and treated her badly. Finally, Linh ran away and became homeless at the age of15. With no job, no money and no education, she had to struggle every day to manage her own life.

“Poverty was not scary. What made me obsessive was loneliness. I was dreaming of a complete and happy familyevery night. I do not even know my biological parents. Who are they? Where are they living? How have they beendoing? Do they still remember me?” Linh asks these questions over and over again, in tears.

With a strong desire to have a family of her own, Linh decided to share life with a young man she loved. Shebelieved he could bring a safe life for her with love and care even though he did not have a stable job. They starteda new life without a marriage certificate.

Linh was extremely happy when she gave birth to a daughter two years ago. However, the baby was diagnosedwith congenital heart disease and her boyfriend became violent and alcohol-addicted. He could not control hisanger when he heard his daughter crying in pain. Day by day, Linh desperately suffered from his violent abuse.Once again, she chose to run away from her offender, taking her daughter to search for help. Fortunately, she wasintroduced to Hagar in those darkest days of her life.

After an initial assessment, it was clear that Linh’s greatest need was to secure enough money for her baby’s heartsurgery. Hagar cooperated with East Meets West and a group of individual sponsors to make her dream thissurgery come true. With the baby’s medical needs met, Hagar brought Linh for a health check-up, and she learnedthat she had a tumor in her neck which required surgery. This unexpected news frightened Linh. She hesitated toaddress her own medical issues because she was worried that her daughter’s medical needs were more important;however, after receiving counseling services, Linh made the decision to receive treatment. Both Linh’s and herdaughter’ surgeries were successful.

“If we had not been supported by Hagar and other organizations and individuals, my daughter and I would havenot been able to overcome darkness. We would have been living on the streets without hope for the future. Now, Iwill take care of my daughter and work hard to bring a good life for my child. At least, it will be better than mine”,Linh shared.

Hagar’s next step is to provide legal support to Linh, including working with her to obtain an ID card and her familyrecords so that she can become an official citizen before she celebrates her 33rd birthday, enabling her to accesssocial services and build a stable life.

Linh is also receiving counseling services on career orientation so that she can begin working as soon as possible.She shows excitement at learning to be a hair-dresser. Hagar is confident that Linh will take advantage of theservices provided and turn over a new leaf in her and her daughter’s future life together.







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Project Leader

Catherine Sherrod

Director of Development
Pheonix, AZ United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower Abused and Trafficked Vietnamese Women