As you might imagine, I've been receiving a lot of messages over the past week. Many of them have been extraordinary, but none of them have affected me like one I received two days ago. It was sent by a stranger, out of the blue, and simply said that M has been safely returned home.
The message came from a representative of Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an organisation dedicated to helping young people in Vietnam. Amongst their many achievements, this foundation has been responsible for the return of hundreds of trafficked children to their homes.
When I heard that M had been returned home, my heart skipped a beat. I would have loved to believe it was true, but I had my doubts. In the past weeks, I've spoken to several friends of M in the town where she was living, and none of them have heard from her.
As it turned out, unfortunately, it was a case of mistaken identity, and M remains somewhere in China. The message did make me realise, though, just how wonderful it would be to bring her back home to her family!
I'm only just coming to realise what a disturbingly widespread issue human trafficking is. It's not just Vietnam; it's not just Hmong girls. It's a global issue, involving billions of dollars and many millions of victims. Whatever the outcome of my search for M, I hope my journey will help spread awareness of the issue. I will be getting in touch with organisations working against human trafficking, and doing what I can to make a difference.
A lot of people from all over the world have written to me to express their support, and many have indicated their intention to contribute to the project. At this stage we have only two thousand dollars of the nine-thousand-dollar target, and the clock is ticking. If you are interested in supporting the project, it will be great to see your contributions coming through. If you know anyone else who might be interested in helping to make this project a reality, please let them know!