By supporting Child Rescue, you’ve helped to protect children from suffering, danger and abuse.
The Child Rescue program provides psychosocial and financial support for children who’ve faced hardship. It helps children reintegrate into society and lead a normal life after being deprived of their rights.
Htut says “thank you” for your support
Htut was only 10 when he left his home for work at the Thai border. He met a broker who persuaded him to cross the border to work in Thailand for more money.
“I went with the broker and worked as a mason at a border town in Thailand. On every payday, the broker took all my wages. It was like one year, so, I ran away as I could no longer bear work there,” Htut says.
His next job was at a car workshop. Htut washed cars and earned 3,000 baht (about US$100) per month – but 500 baht (about US$16) of that went to the Thai police because Htut didn’t have an official labour card.
“After working at a car workshop for two and a half months, I moved to work at a fish pond as a guard. My wages were 2,500 Thai baht (about US$83) per month. I was not allowed to leave and had to stay inside the compound, so I ran again,” Htut recalls.
Htut had been living in Thailand and running from job to job for several years. He’d learned to speak Thai very well.
“As I tried to look for [a] new job, I met with a broker couple and they persuaded me to work in Indonesia. They promised me that they would send me back after six months if I was not happy. So, I went to Indonesia with them and got a job on fishing boat,” Htut says.
But his new employers didn’t keep their promises.
“In reality, I was not allowed to return home when I asked. Moreover, I earned only about US$100 per month instead of the promised wages [about US$300 per month],” Htut adds.
“I had to work from 4 am to 11 pm. There was no medical care. We had to work even when we were sick. We were not allowed to go outside on the fishing boat and had to stay inside the fish processing compound only,” Htut recalls.
Htut asked to return home after working on the boat for one year but his attempt was rejected. Htut felt he had no other options, so he stayed for about 4 years.
“I had to work in dangerous conditions. Most of the time I had to dive in the sea to grab the net loaded with fish [while] holding a knife, then get back into the boat. My work required much attention, so I could not think of my home. I felt like I had no future. If I thought of my home and the experiences that I had faced, it was a painful thing, so I tried not to remember that, instead focusing only on work,” says Htut.
“One day, I heard the news that we would be sent back home with the help of concerned authorities (Indonesian and Myanmar governments). Our boat was no longer allowed to fish. We were then sent to an island where we received medical check-up. We also got passports after the process. We didn’t have to work. The IOM [International Organization for Migration] supported our living cost. I spent three months there and finally flew home to Myanmar,” Htut shares.
You’ve given people like Htut a fresh start
Altogether, 253 Myanmar fishermen (including Htut) returned home with help from the Indonesian and Myanmar governments.
The Central Body of Trafficking in Persons, the Myanmar fishery department of Yangon region, the IOM and World Vision Myanmar welcomed the returnees and are lending their support with financial support, transportation and meal costs.
Htut, now 21, currently lives with his aunt’s family back home in Myanmar. He doesn’t know what to do next after being away from his home for over 10 years. He eagerly wants to find his parents – they moved away from his hometown just before his return.
Thanks to generous Australians like you, Htut will receive support with housing, health assistance and vocational training. World Vision works closely with returnees to counsel and empower them for successful reintegration.
This year, you supported 30 projects in 17 countries. You’ve made a difference for children all over the world.
The world says thanks.