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FREE THE SLAVES: “I still have hope in my 50’s…”

Women around a table with supplies

Last year Free The Slaves joined HopeBox, an NGO based in Vietnam, to serve survivors of domestic abuse and slavery. While working in the city of Hanoi, Free The Slaves and Hope Box had the privilege of meeting Tina*. This is Tina’s story of overcoming fear and finding freedom with FTS.

All the abuse started when her husband accused Tina of seeing another man. This later turned into constant accusations and heated arguments that resulted in physical and sexual abuse. Oftentimes, when she refused to follow her husband’s sexual demands, he became violent toward her.

At the height of the pandemic, her husband forced her to work for various employers doing house chores. Her husband would collect the money for every task she finished directly from her employers. After work, she needed to go home right away to serve her husband and learned that she must not set her foot out the door while at home. She found herself trapped in an abusive marriage and a situation of servitude initiated by her husband. Her husband held that she was his property since she benefited from her in-laws’ support and money early in their marriage.

“Why didn’t she report the abuse to local law enforcement?” Tina believed that a police report would only worsen the abuse as she couldn’t provide proof. She felt trapped until one fateful news program aired. While watching television, she saw a story about HopeBox, a local organization helping victims of trafficking and domestic violence find refuge. After hearing the courageous stories of survivors escaping their captors, Tina got an idea of how she too could leave her situation.

In March 2021, Tina’s husband hit and threatened her with a knife again. After years of abuse, Tina finally realized her life was in danger. Tina said, “I wanted to change my life…” and set out to escape her abusive relationship. With the help of Free The Slaves and Hope Box, Tina was able to put her past behind her by joining the survivor skills-training program. After reaching out to the organization, Tina was given support, shelter, and access to a survivor network. Tina explains, “When I joined a community of other women who survived abuses and slavery, I met many wonderful individuals. At that moment, I felt I wanted to preserve my own life.”

Tina finally divorced her husband and now lives with her son in a small rented space in Hanoi. After finishing a 6-month program at HopeBox, Tina sees a positive future for herself. “Since I divorced in July 2021 and been out of a violent environment, my life has been more meaningful, and I feel more confident in my values. I found HopeBox, and I am thankful to them for providing me with a paid job and career support.”

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Free the Slaves

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