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2013 (Narrative date)

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Included in the types of slavery prevalent in China is forced labour, with China's unprecedented rise to the world's second largest economy and its domestic economy specialising in the production of labour-intensive, cheap goods for export, increasing the demand for cheap labour. Forced labour occurs in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as more informal industries such as brick kilns and garment facoties. Many women are also tricked in to forced labour as domestic servants, lured by the promise of good jobs with high incomes they instead find themselves confined to the house and forced to work long hours with little or no pay.

Duyan was told she would just be visiting China when she was sold to a Chinese family to be their made. Duyan was finally able to escape and reported her trafficker to the police.

We were just supposed to be “visiting China”. That’s what she said. That’s what he said. But as soon as we crossed the border from Vietnam, I was given over to several men.

They made me their “wife”—or housemaid. I was forced to live with them for a year. Finally, with the help of a delivery woman and a student, I was able to escape and return to Vietnam.

I reported the incident to the police and my trafficker was convicted and then sentenced. He’ll be spending 20 years in prison in exchange for my one.

What happened to me that year in China is still very difficult for me to talk about or even to comprehend. There was so much pain, so much trauma. I try to share my story with my counsellor. She listens.

Today, I’m training to be a hairdresser—I eventually hope to open my own salon! But for now, I’m just focused on gaining work experience and preparing to return home.


Narrative provided by Hagar Australia