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Vietnam lawyer who freed hundreds of trafficking victims lauded by regional young leaders network

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 16:27 GMT+7
Vietnam lawyer who freed hundreds of trafficking victims lauded by regional young leaders network
Ta Ngoc Van, chief lawyer at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Photo: Reuters

A Vietnamese lawyer whose arduous work helped secure the freedom of over 800 trafficking victims, many of whom are children, has been honored by a prestigious Asia-Pacific young leaders network.

Vietnamese national Ta Ngoc Van has been inscribed in the 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders, a network of under-40 Asia-Pacific visionaries promoted by Asia Society, the U.S.-based nonprofit organization said in a statement on Monday.

Asia Society works to address a range of challenges facing Asia and the world.

Van, 37, is chief lawyer at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a Hanoi-based charity that works to rescue Vietnamese children in crisis, including street kids and victims of human trafficking.

He has personally helped free more than 800 trafficking victims and provided legal representation to 90 victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse in 48 court cases, according to Asia Society.

His tireless efforts have earned him the trust of Vietnamese police and government officials, who regularly invite him to assist in their anti-trafficking and law reform initiatives, the organization said.

Van’s work is also recognized by the international community, as he was named a TIP Report Hero by the U.S. Department of State in 2014 and received the inaugural Trust Women Anti-Trafficking Hero Award from Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2015.

More recently, he was recognized as a ZICO ASEAN 40 Under 40 honoree and was named an Asia Foundation Development Fellow in 2018.

Van received his bachelor’s degree in law from Hanoi University of Law and earned a master’s degree in sustainable development from Brandeis University in the U.S.

A banner for the 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders posted on the official website of Asia Society.

A banner for the 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders posted on the official website of Asia Society

The 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders is the 13th class of its kind, joining an “unparalleled network of accomplished individuals” representing the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, Asia Society said in its statement.

This year’s class is made up of 39 visionary leaders from 31 countries, including activists, artists, educators, journalists, scientists, and social entrepreneurs.

Class laureates will meet from November 15 to 17 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the U.S. for the annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit.

The summit – the first to be held in the United States – will carry the theme “Technology & Humanity: Roadmaps for the Future.”

Among this year’s Asia 21 Young Leaders are Megha Rajagopalan, a 2018 Human Rights Press Awardee and an international correspondent for BuzzFeed News; Esra’a Al Shafei, who founded a network of online platforms to represent marginalized communities in Bahrain; and Farhad Wajdi, who helped build a school in a refugee camp in Pakistan at the age of 14 and later set up a non-profit organization that challenges gender inequality in Afghanistan.

“This group of next-gen leaders are re-imagining and reshaping the relationship between Asia and the world,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran.

“Asia 21 builds a unique, global network to connect this group of change-makers and channels their innovation, energy and vision into a platform to elevate and amplify these future leaders as they take on some of the toughest and most meaningful challenges in the world today.”

Asia 21 alumni now number roughly 1,000, many of whom will return for the 2019 Summit in November.

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