How USAID is Building Local Capacity to Prevent Human Trafficking in Vietnam
Nobody wants to be unable to give support to someone in need, but that is exactly what Hoang Thanh Thao faced when four survivors of human trafficking came into her office seeking help at the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs. Thao struggled to understand their needs and address their fears. “I felt helpless,” Thao said.
“I wanted to give them the care they needed, but I just didn’t know what to do.”
Thao’s experience is not unique. In Vietnam, frontline workers often lack the specific skills needed to effectively identify and provide support to survivors of trafficking. USAID partnered with Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs to create a curriculum for social workers, police, border guards, and women’s union representatives to close this gap and improve support for this vulnerable population.
In April 2023, Thao attended one of the first training sessions, where she learned about trauma-informed care, gender sensitivity, and guidance on potential legal issues. Through these sessions, Thao increased her ability to evaluate the essential needs and potential hazards of survivors and how to offer them appropriate support services through a survivor centered approach. “I feel very lucky to have gained more knowledge and skills. This has helped me assist victims and provide them with better support,” Thao shared.
Support for frontline workers like Thao is building long-term, sustainable local capacity and strengthening advocacy to prevent and combat human trafficking across Vietnam. Thao is now confident in her role and motivated to make a difference.
“The most important thing is to avoid stigma. Human trafficking is something that can happen to anyone if you don’t have the knowledge and skills to prevent it.” - Hoang Thanh Thao