Nguyen Thi Hon used to live in Buu Dong hamlet, Long Dien Dong commune, Dong Hai district, Bac Lieu province.
Talking to Sai Gon Giai Phong reporters, the 82-year-old mother Nguyen Thi Hen said their family was so poor that Hon, the youngest of 10 siblings, had to leave home to find labor work in Can Tho city. Relatives came to visit her 2 months later but the employer said she had already left elsewhere.
Hon was not heard from afterwards. The family assumed she was dead and set up altar to commemorate her.
Subsequently, Hon told SGGP the story from her perspective. 22 years ago while working in Can Tho city, she met an acquaintance who offered her work at their hometown in Bac Lieu. However, she was drugged along the way, and woke up in China surrounded by strangers.
She was then sold to be the wife to a man in Guangxi, China. There, she was beaten and neglected by the husband due to infertility, and finally ran away after 8 years of suffering. She went from places to places in China for years doing labor work, slowly forgetting her mother tongue. At some point, people figured that she might be Vietnamese and told her how to get home.
At the end of June 2019, she was found wandering around the Vietnam-China border by members of Thap sang niem tin club (lit. “Lighting up hopes”) stationed in the northern province of Lang Son. After several questions, they led her to Lang Son’s social protection center and shared her story widely on Facebook. Relatives recognized her on the social platform shortly afterwards and came to get her.
Though previously informed about Hon’s return, the elderly mother Nguyen Kim Hen still passed out at the sight of her daughter. Composing herself, Mrs. Hen said through shaky words: “Now that my daughter’s home, even if my life ended now I could go in peace”.
The family threw a big feast for the whole neighborhood to celebrate this seemingly impossible reunion.