Human trafficking and UXO victims

This week we turn to the scourge of human trafficking, long an issue in north Vietnam's provinces bordering China. With the economic downturn in recent months, more women are being drawn over the border, lured on false pretences and sold into prostitution or marriage. We also take a look at UXO victims in Laos, among the world's most bombed countries that still today is heavily littered with US devices dropped in the 1970s. What kind of support are the countries thousands of amputees getting?

May 25, 2020
Human trafficking and UXO victims

How did lockdown impact air quality in your Southeast Asian city?

While the global pandemic has been devastating for economies and lives across the world, it has been undeniably good for the environment. As cities across Southeast Asia have shut down, air quality has steadily and uniformly improved – that is in all but one city.

In Laos, survivors of US bombs rebuild their lives – and limbs

A nine-year US campaign from 1964-73 made Laos the most bombed nation on earth, contaminating millions of hectares of land with explosives. Five decades on, thousands of UXO victims, some recent and some from decades past, work to piece their lives together.

Cracks widen for Vietnam’s most vulnerable

In northern Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of workers cross the Chinese border each year in search of work, among them women lured on false pretences and trafficked into marriage or sex work. As Vietnam’s economy has slowed in recent months, these women are more vulnerable than ever.

A Cambodian student’s account of the virus emerging in Wuhan

Like many, Cambodian student Soun Phannaroat didn’t think much of December reports of a new virus spreading in Wuhan, the city in which she was studying. But as the weeks ticked on, the gravity of the situation became apparent, and she knew she needed to leave. Find more Tales of the pandemicstories at here.

Protests as Taipei station spark migrant debate

A recent proposed ban on gatherings in Taipei Main Station has sparked anger in Taiwan, with the terminal’s main hall holding a rich history of hosting protests and gatherings, as well as serving as a community space for many Southeast Asian migrant workers in the city.

The curious case of Jakarta: Lockdown, less traffic, but worse air quality

Lockdowns brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have had clear positive effects on pollutions levels across Southeast Asia’s major cities. But one city, notorious for its pollution, bucks that trend. Why has Jakarta’s air quality worsened during the lockdown months?

Marine tourism takes a dive in Bali

With the complete shutdown of the global travel industry in recent months, few places have felt the effect of that harder than the tourist-reliant island of Bali. But as its marine-focused economy suffers badly with no end in sight, its marine life is thriving.

Humanitarian outreach for migrants on the Thai-Myanmar border

Mae Sot, a town on the Thai-Myanmar frontier home to a large Burmese migrant worker and refugee community, was hit hard in February when borders shut and supply routes were interrupted. Wayland Blue of the Shade Tree Foundation was part of an outreach team trying to mitigate these effects through a community outreach programme.

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