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Back Stories » Vietnam » Activist Diep Vuong Named Global Citizen of the Year for Work to Fight Human Trafficking

Vietnamese-American activist Diep Vuong, who used to be a refugee in the US, recently won the prestigious award for her work to stop human trafficking.

Vuong was honored at a gala dinner in Dubai on Tuesday to accept the award given by international citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners. The firm's chairmen Christian H. Kalin said: “The Global Citizen Award is granted each year to an inspiring individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the global community. Diep’s commitment to fighting the scourge of human trafficking, her uncompromising advocacy for the fundamental right not to be submitted to slavery, servitude, forced labor, or bonded labor, and her visionary and transformational holistic approach to preventing trafficking, makes her a worthy recipient of this annual award.” 

Vuong was born in Vietnam but fled to America via Singapore aboard a boat in 1980. Despite growing up in poverty and needing to work multiple jobs as a child to help her family pay for food and rent, she thrived, earning degrees from Harvard and San Jose State. She returned to Vietnam and in 2001 founded Pacific Links, a non-profit organization that works to prevent human trafficking and rehabilitates victims in Vietnam and surrounding areas.

Upon receiving the award, Vuong said: "We live in a very globalized world where we are crossing borders very often so we should be aware of how to do that safely by being aware of ourselves and our surroundings. Human trafficking is the major issue of our time, representing the ugly side of globalization. It is all-pervasive and yet largely ignored. The more we recognize the painful realities of our world, the more effective we can be in addressing and correcting them."

Watch Vuong talk about her work in the below TEDx talk:

Video via TEDx Talks.

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