Update: 19:42 | 05/11/2022
A woman who was tricked and trafficked into China in 1995 has been reunited with her family in central Vietnam, but she yearns to be back with her children in China.
Tran Thi Lo, 54 this year, was born into a family of nine siblings in Loc Ha District in Ha Tinh Province.
In 1992, she and some family members visited the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak to do business.
Tran Thi Lo cries as she reunites with a family member in Loc Ha District of Ha Tinh Province, November 3, 2022.
Her family describes Lo as "slow" and of unstable mental health.
In 1995, when she was 27, Lo went missing while staying with her brother in Dak Lak.
Her family searched for her for many years with help from the police and the media, but there was no sign of her anywhere, said Nguyen Duc Dieu, 70, Lo's brother-in-law.
Dieu's son, Nguyen Duc Diep, 35, began to post information about his missing aunt on social media and the online community kept spreading the message.
A month ago, Chinese police cracked down on illegal citizens and found Lo without any legal papers. They deported her and handed her over to Vietnamese police.
Lo was sent to a social work center in Nghe An Province on Nov. 1. The same day, staff at the center discovered the information that her nephew had posted on social media.
The very next day, they put the nephew in touch with her on the phone.
Once it was confirmed that she’d found her family, Lo was returned to her siblings last Thursday (Nov. 3). Both her parents had passed away.
Lo said she was tricked and taken to China where she was forced to marry an old Chinese man. She gave birth to his children who are adults now. Her husband has died.
She can only speak a few Chinese words and though she has been reunited with her long-lost family, she wishes to return to China and be with her children.
Her family is helping her to complete the needed procedures and fulfill her wish.
According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, around 40 million men in China needed to look abroad for a wife, as of 2020. This situation has resulted from China’s former one-child policy, which saw families abort female fetuses for decades.
Hundreds of thousands of women from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have been smuggled or taken to China to wed local men, activists say. Some end up happily married, but many others suffer violence and forced labor.