Tricked Into Danger

Read how Friends Alliance teams worked together across borders to help one young woman out of a very difficult and dangerous situation…

February, 2023

Excited at the opportunity to escape her humdrum life, yet still a little afraid of what might lie ahead, 16 year-old Pon arrived in Vientiane from the provinces to take up a job her friend had found for her.

After a short time, the same friend helped her to find another job in Bokeo, in the Golden Triangle (Special Economic Zone), where she started work in a restaurant. While there she met some other women and considered them new friends: Ms. Nat and Ms. Koop

Pon worked in the restaurant for 8 months, however without a salary. She was told she was too young to get the money, so the restaurant ‘kept’ the money for her. Koop told Pon and her friend Nat that she could introduce them to some people who could get them a higher salary. In October 2023 a car picked up them up and after a long drive and boat ride they arrived in their new workplace, the notorious Mong La township in Shan State, Myanmar.

Locked Up – and Exploited!

After one night of rest, the two friends started their ‘work’. It was not what they had expected – they were forced to have sex with customers from 7pm to 5am every day.  The rest of the time, they were locked in a room with two guards standing in front of their door to prevent them from escaping.

In late November 2023, the ChildSafe Hotline, run by Peuan Mit (Friends Laos) in Vientiane, received a call from Ms. Pon’s aunt, Ms.Poui, to report that several girls who had been working in the Golden Triangle were sold to traffickers and that they were now somewhere on the Chinese/Myanmar border. One of those girls was her 16 year- old niece, Pon.

Taking Action

Peuan Mit recommended that Ms Poui should immediately inform the trafficking police, which she did. Peuan Mit also informed the Friends team in Myanmar who reported the case to UNICEF and the Child Protection network in Yangon to seek help and intervention.

Later, Ms Poui called ChildSafe again to tell them that her niece had managed to leave the brothel and was now in a hospital somewhere in Shan state. She was pregnant. Pon gave birth and her baby was placed into an incubator due to complications during the delivery. As she didn’t really want this baby someone came to see her in hospital and offered to adopt him. She hesitated. The Peuan Mit team advised her to bring the baby back to Laos otherwise she could face serious legal issues.

Pon managed to access a phone so the Peuan Mit team could then contact her directly to get information and see how they could help to rescue her and her baby. They worked to organize their return to Lao and also arranged to support with the 1,500 yuan border crossing fee. Peuan Mit reported the case again to the trafficking police and managed to maintain regular communication with Pon despite difficulties in connection due to poor network coverage.

Returning Home

Pon returned to Lao on 8th of January 2024. She was then referred to Lao Woman’s Union to get support, while her baby was sent to the hospital, where he stayed for one week receiving medical attention due to his bad condition

The Peuan Mit team continues to follow up regularly to make sure Pon is receiving all the necessary legal, medical and psychosocial support she needs.

Ongoing Concerns

Unfortunately, this is far from being an isolated case. There are still many other girls (both Lao and Thai) in the brothel where Pon was abused.

Among these are:

– Another young girl who reported her situation to Peuan Mit. She shared the location and picture of the place where she worked and slept in Mong La. She mentioned that there were many others working there, including Lao and Thai women and girls.

She returned to Laos on 2nd Jan 2024. She informed Peuan Mit that her boyfriend, who is Chinese, paid her ‘debts’ so she could leave the place.

Another mother whose daughter was a friend of Pon’s contacted ChildSafe hotline on 05th of Jan 2024 to inform that her daughter was being forced to have sex and was afraid of being beaten. She had contracted syphilis and was sent to hospital for treatment. She was separated from the other girls but still locked in a room. As she couldn’t have customers because of her condition, she now had a 15,000 Yuan  debt to clear before she could return to Laos.

(to support our work in this area, please visit )

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *