Ben Randall risked his life saving the lives of three friends who were kidnapped and sold as brides. As a young backpacker, Ben befriended and taught English to a group of teenage Hmong girls he met during his travels in Vietnam. After returning home to Australia, he received an email from one of the girls saying that some of their friends had suddenly disappeared.
A year later, Ben was back in Vietnam and on the trail of the missing girls. He learned that the Hmong are often targeted to be sold in China where men far outnumber women. The shortage of women has left millions of desperate men without any hope of getting married. And to fill this need, human traffickers have preyed on the likes of Ben’s young friends.
Astonishingly, the families of kidnapped girls often choose not to search for their daughters. The parents often either blame their daughters or they believe they are better off in China. This meant Ben’s friends were on their own.
One of the kidnapped girls got her hands on a mobile phone. She contacted Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a group that has saved hundreds of trafficked children. She had escaped, but did not know where the other two kidnapped girls were.
Ben caught a break when one of the girls managed to contact her family. The girls did not know where they were, but Ben and the investigators from Blue Dragon were able to find them.
Both girls had lived in captivity in China for three years and had given birth to daughters. One was in a small village and lived a difficult life with very little freedom. The other was in a large city and lived somewhat comfortably.
Ben decided to spend the last of his funds to meet them in China. Each reunion was a moment of joy, followed by a difficult decision. His kidnapped friends had to decide whether they would stay or leave. If they left, they would have to leave their daughters behind to an unknown fate. They would have to take a dangerous journey home. And once they had returned, they might be mistrusted by their local community and have difficulty finding a husband.
In the end, one decided to return home. It took an additional five months to successfully bring her back to Vietnam. The other stayed with her child in China. Ben thought finding the girls would be the end of his adventure, but it has only just begun. He is now on a mission to save trafficked children and spread the word about the global danger of human trafficking.