Phượng’s daughter was abducted from her village in Vietnam and sold into marriage in China. Could she track her down – starting with Facebook?
Early one morning last April, Phượng woke to find over 100 missed calls on her mobile phone, all of them from her eldest daughter, Lý. “Mum!” Lý screamed, when she called back. “Where have you been? Cẩm is missing!” Lý’s voice cracked with panic over her little sister’s disappearance. “She called me from the border and said she’d been tricked! She’s been sold!”
Phượng knew immediately what had happened. They were living in Sapa, an impoverished rural district in Vietnam’s mountainous north-west, and many girls there had disappeared just like this: victims of bride trafficking, destined for China and a life of domestic servitude and sexual slavery. Phượng would have to act quickly if she wanted her daughter back. Traffickers moved at light speed, and 16-year-old Cẩm could very well be in the back of a car already, speeding towards rural China, her “buyer” waiting to introduce her to her new duties: labourer, domestic servant, wife, mother – possibly even sexual plaything for the other men in the family.