All Aung* wanted was to help his family. The combined income of his parents, sister and brother was less than a daily minimum wage. So, at the age of sixteen, Aung decided to get a job to contribute. But traffickers in Myanmar took advantage of the boy’s good heart. A broker approached him and his friends and promised a good-paying position.
“We trusted him easily,” Aung says. “Without any doubt, we went with him.”
The broker’s promises were soon revealed to be lies. Trapped at sea, Aung was forced to work 12 hours a day but did not receive any wages. He sometimes slept just two hours a night. He wondered if he would ever see his family again.
Crises like political instability and the effects of the pandemic have made more people like Aung vulnerable to exploitation.
Aung wondered if he would ever see his family again. Back at home, his mother became worried that her son was missing. She made a report to a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), which reached out to Myanmar's Anti-Trafficking Task Force. The police took immediate action, and Aung was successfully rescued from the boat.
With Aung out of danger, the local NGO contacted IJM for legal and aftercare assistance. Thanks to compassionate IJM supporters like you, Aung was taken to a shelter for counseling.
You help make it possible for IJM to work with the government in Myanmar and other local partners to protect and empower workers in high-risk areas. Together, we will help make sure more boys and girls like Aung have the chance to just be children — children who can dream of bright futures!
Today, Aung is happily back in school with his friends. His strength and spirit have been restored, and he’s learning to smile again. Most days, you can find him playing soccer. He dreams of making the Myanmar National Soccer League after he finishes his studies.
With your help, IJM is supporting his family in their legal battle to bring the traffickers to justice.
“I’m thankful to have my son back,” Aung’s mother says. “We do not want other parents to go through the same feelings we had when our child disappeared.”