Diep N. Vuong, Co-Founder and President of Pacific Links Foundation, was today named by international citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners as the recipient of its Global Citizen Award ® for 2018. The Global Citizen Award gala dinner took place at the Mina A’Salam Hotel in Dubai, marking the conclusion of the firm’s 12th annual Global Residence and Citizenship Conference.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says, “The Global Citizen Award is granted each year to an inspiring individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the global community by advancing efforts to combat one of today’s pressing ‘global issues’, defined by the UN as those problems that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone.”
Explaining the choice of this year’s recipient, Dr. Kälin says: “The prize was awarded to Diep N. Vuong in recognition of her courageous, decades-long international campaigning for the rights of those enslaved by human trafficking, as well as her grassroots work in protecting those rescued from such enslavement.”
Under Vuong’s leadership, Pacific Links Foundation has grown into one of the leading organizations in Southeast Asia working to prevent the trafficking of women and youths within and out of Vietnam. The Foundation runs a comprehensive range of effective counter-trafficking initiatives. Preventative measures include education for at-risk women, youth leadership and empowerment training, and the Factory Awareness to Counter Trafficking (FACT) campaign, which works with multinational corporations to reduce forced labor and trafficking risks within their supply chain. Protective measures focus on the reintegration, rehabilitation, and upskilling of trafficking survivors. The Foundation collaborates with key local, national, regional, and international stakeholders, networks, and communities to promote awareness about this widespread issue.
Human trafficking is a massive, USD 150 billion per year industry that affects over 40 million women, children, and men, subjecting them to forced labor and sexual exploitation. While it is very much a global issue, with almost every region in the world implicated, the chance of becoming enslaved in Asia Pacific is twice as high as in a developed country. Vietnam in particular is a major source country for various forms of trafficking.
Vuong and her team tirelessly serve and protect communities in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, along the northern, central, and southern borders of the country, and in industrial zones, providing vocational and educational opportunities, safe housing, and healthcare services to at-risk youth and trafficking survivors.
Vuong’s commitment to this cause is born out of her own harrowing experience fleeing Vietnam with her brother and father as a young teenager. It took 17 years for her family to be reunited in the US. As a former refugee and stateless person who went on to graduate from Harvard University, Vuong has dedicated her life to helping those most affected by global inequality and its pernicious effects.
Paola De Leo, Head of Group Philanthropy at Henley & Partners, says of the 2018 awardee: “Vuong’s commitment to fighting the global 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 has inspired the Global Citizen Award Committee and all of us at Henley & Partners.”
De Leo goes on: “Human trafficking is a gross violation of our most basic human rights and a blight on our collective conscience. Henley & Partners looks forward to being a proud partner to the brave work that Pacific Links Foundation does. We are committed to working with Vuong and her team over the course of the coming year in raising awareness on this absolutely crucial global issue.”
Upon receiving the award, Vuong thanked Henley & Partners for its recognition of the work that Pacific Links Foundation and other organizations are doing in this area.
“Human trafficking is the major issue of our time, representing the ugly side of globalization,” said Vuong. “It is all-pervasive and yet largely ignored. It means a great deal to us to have this acknowledgement from a global firm such as Henley & Partners, and we hope that this year’s award will help drive widespread awareness about the work that we are doing on the ground with our partners. The more we recognize the painful realities of our world, the more effective we can be in addressing and correcting them. Human trafficking has become a global epidemic, yet the people who abhor it and want it to end far outnumber those perpetuating it. Let us find each other and work together to turn the tide.”
The Global Citizen Award ® consists of a specially made commemorative medal, an award certificate signed by the President of the Award Committee, and a USD 30,000 monetary prize, which goes towards helping the organization and awardee continue their excellent work.
Previous recipients of the award include Switzerland-based Monique Morrow, President and Co-Founder of The Humanized Internet, which uses new technologies to defend the rights of vulnerable people; South African humanitarian Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder of Africa’s largest disaster relief organization, the Gift of the Givers Foundation; and German entrepreneur Harald Höppner, Founder of refugee aid project Sea Watch.
Laureates are selected from a pool of nominees by an independent award committee made up of eight highly distinguished individuals, including Prof. Khalid Koser OBE, Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Migration at the World Economic Forum; Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam of the Senate of France; Her Royal Highness Princess Firyal of Jordan; and Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta.