Hello, my name is Phuong and I am 25 old. I was asked by my grandmother to work in Malaysia as a masseuse. I agreed as the job promised better future prospects and I also needed the job to help my family pay the bills.
Once I arrived in Malaysia, things began to seem dodgy. The man who picked me up at the airport made me feel uncomfortable. Right away, I was brought to the massage parlour where I would work. It was a big massage parlour, with individual rooms to service customers.
Sooner than later, I realised my instincts were proven true. During one of the massage sessions, a male customer asked me for extra added services. I was taken aback and explained to him that I do not offer sex services. He did not push further. That night I could not sleep as I was feeling worried and scared of the situation I was in. I also felt hurt, angry and betrayed by my grandmother, whom I found out was the one who sold me to traffickers.
I knew I had to do something fast to get myself out of this situation. I managed to call a friend in Vietnam to help me. Thankfully, my friend managed to get me in touch with an NGO in Vietnam that works on human trafficking issues. The NGO alerted a staff in Malaysia and connected with the Bukit Aman special branch officers to rescue me.
I wish I had a perfect ending to my story, but by the time I was rescued it was too late. I was approached by ten men who asked for sex services. Nine did not advance further when I declined them, but I was raped by the tenth man.
After being rescued, I was brought to the trafficked protection shelter. I felt as if I had lost all hope and my world was a dark place. I joined many counselling and therapeutic sessions arranged for my NGO’s volunteering at the shelter. The sessions really helped me feel better, and I could slowly look forward in life again. After five months, I could finally smile again.
After my court case was settled, I was sent back to Vietnam. My family was in debt from the money they owed the traffickers to bring me to Malaysia. It was even more hurtful when I found out that my family tried to re-traffic me again. I contacted the staff of the NGO that helped me and they gave me a place to stay and found me a job to help me pay off my debt.
At this moment, I am optimistic about my future and focusing on working hard so that I can quickly pay off my debt. This is my story and I want to share it with as many girls and women as possible and to raise awareness on human trafficking so they will not have to go through what I did.