This year has been hard for everyone. Our own reality has changed drastically, to say the least. What we all need is HOPE. That is what we here at Hagar help with so each survivor can travel their Whole Journey with support and most of all, HOPE.
Help for women like Ban*, who was tricked into trafficking in another country away from her daughter.
This is Ban’s Reality Check: Finding Hope.
Ban was in a situation where she was always struggling to provide for her precious young daughter. With no home, savings or work opportunities available in her local community in Vietnam, Ban knew that she would have to find work abroad to have any chance of giving her daughter a good life.
Desperate to turn her situation around, Ban ended up paying a local agency to help secure an employment post overseas and arrange her travel. She then left her daughter with her sister to begin her journey to Saudi Arabia.
However, once she arrived in Saudi Arabia, instead of entering the employment post she thought was organized for her, Ban was horrified to discover that she had actually been trafficked. She entered domestic slavery and acted as a servant for some of the people who had been involved in her trafficking. As well as being exploited for labor, Ban also experienced significant physical violence and suffered a number of physical injuries at the hands of her traffickers.
She tried to escape many times and finally after 7 months of doing everything her traffickers asked of her, Ban managed to escape, connect with the Vietnamese embassy and made her way home. However, even though she had escaped, this experience had left Ban both physically injured and severely traumatized. As a result, even when she got home, she struggled to care for her daughter and fit back into the community. She was hurting and filled with hatred over what had happened to her.
Two years ago, Ban heard about Hagar Vietnam from a reporter. The reporter gave Ban Hagar Vietnam’s hotline number and Ban made the decision to reach out and see if she could get some help.
Listening to Ban’s story, the Hagar team could see how hurt and traumatized she was and began to walk the recovery journey with her. Together with our donors, Hagar was able to give Ban hope that she could rebuild her life and find freedom from the trauma of her past. Over the next year, Hagar provided Ban with:
- An individualized recovery plan that was specific to her needs
- Counselling to help her process what had happened and the resentment and bitterness that had been impacting her
- Support to get a medical examination of her physical injuries completed and treatment organized
- Facilitating for her lost identity documents to be replaced
- Guidance as she tried to repair the bonds with her daughter and family and reintegrate into her community
Because of Hagar donors and staff journeying with Ban, she no longer has nightmares and her Case Manager says Ban’s trauma symptoms have reduced. Ban is now able to be present and take care of her daughter. She shared with staff:
“The time in Saudi Arabia, I was sick without any treatment. With that serious crisis, I was overwhelmed by bitterness. Hagar help[ed] me reduce the pressure of my life … took me for medical treatment, reconnected me with my baby and help[ed] make our bond stronger. Now that I stop recalling the time in Saudi Arabia, I can focus on the present.”
As well as being able to help Ban overcome the trauma of her past, Hagar staff were also able to provide Ban and her family with emergency support this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ban’s job of selling vegetables at the market came to a halt during the COVID-19 crisis and due to her health limitations and the strict social distancing rules imposed in Vietnam, Ban was struggling to find a new job. Understanding that Ban and her family were now in a difficult situation, Hagar provided milk and nutrition supplements to ensure that she and her family still had good nutrition.
The fact that Hagar provided this emergency support meant so much to Ban. Ban said to staff upon receiving this support:
“Hagar is always in my heart and accompanying me to overcome difficulties. I could never have come this far and be able to take care of my child without the enthusiastic help from Hagar’s staff. I will always remember and be grateful to Hagar for the rest of my life.”