LAO CAI — In the rural mountains of Vietnam, young girls are disappearing from their homes with increasing regularity. Many turn up across the border, sold as wives for the price of a buffalo.
The stories of the women who end up becoming these brides are nuanced. Some are lured into China with false promises of jobs and better lives, but end up forced into marriage or even brothels to become sex slaves. Some are tricked by someone they trust – a relative, a friend, even sometimes a boyfriend who promises to marry them, but instead sells them. Some girls are drugged, then taken across the border.
Out of the six thousand victims identified by Vietnam’s Department of General Police, only around 600 have returned to Vietnam.
These are the stories of those who were able to escape, and of mothers whose daughters are still missing.