The Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA) is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations working collaboratively to combat human trafficking in Asia. Leveraging the coalition’s collective expertise in combating the transnational crime of human trafficking, its coalition members and partners operate in the United States, Canada, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
CAMSA was formed in February of 2008 through the joint efforts of BPSOS, the International Society for Human Rights, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, and the U.S. Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers. While we focus on the needs of our Vietnamese communities in America, we continue to care about our compatriots who are at risk in foreign lands. One component of our international initiatives presently focuses on fighting human trafficking.
Through CAMSA, we not only rescue the victims but hold governments accountable and force changes in their legal frameworks. So far we have been exceptionally effective on multiple fronts and have made significant impacts on the policies of many governments. CAMSA brings our anti-trafficking efforts back in line with our mission: defending the liberty and dignity of Vietnamese.
Through case management, legal representation, and other support services, victims of human trafficking seek remedy from labor trafficking, forced labor, domestic servitude, wage theft and sex trafficking in America, Asia, and many other places in the world. In partnership with communities, service providers, and law enforcement agencies, we defend the rights and interests of abused victims while increasing public awareness and effecting systemic changes so as to eradicate modern-day slavery.
In six years rescued over 5,000 victims and advocated for the liberation of another 6,000 victims of labor and sex trafficking in Malaysia, Taiwan, Guam, China, Jordan, Russia, Ghana, Algeria, and America.
In 2013 rescued 15 young Vietnamese women sex-trafficked to Russia and facilitated their safe return home.
In 2008 rescued 176 labor-trafficked victims in Jordan and advocated for their prompt repatriation; fought for one
of them to be resettled as refugee to the United States.
In 2008 represented and secured compensations totaling close to a million U.S. dollars for 2,600 victims of a Hong Kong-based sweatshop operating in Malaysia.
In 2000 spearheaded the rescue of over 180 Vietnamese and Chinese victims of labor trafficking in the American Samoa, and assisted with the prosecution of their trafficker – this remains the largest labor trafficking case ever prosecuted by the U.S. government.
Linh Vu recalls a childhood in Vietnam without her mother. Linh never complained because she knew that her mother was working hard to provide most of the income for her family. Throughout the years when she was gone, her mother always apologized in letters that she could not be there with her only child. Linh wrote back with words of encouragement and appreciation for her hard work, waiting patiently for her mother’s return. One day, Linh discovered the struggles that her mother had to endure as a trafficked laborer. With the help of BPSOS, Linh’s mother was able to find a place to settle in America. Linh and her mother were finally reunited.
However, because it was extremely hard for them to fit into the new environment as newcomers, the family’s struggle did not stop there. BPSOS continued to lend a hand after the family settled in Virginia. Linh and her mother were able to complete all of the legal paperwork and enroll in health programs offered by BPSOS. Linh was also able to succeed academically with the help of an English tutor. After living in America for 8 years and graduating college, Linh does not forget the support she had received. The passion and generosity of BPSOS continues to inspire Linh to be a proud Vietnamese-American. Today, Linh volunteers in the BPSOS tutoring program in order to train younger generations of Vietnamese students to be the future leaders of their communities.
CAMSA employs a comprehensive approach in prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership implemented through its network of local partners in Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan.
CAMSA educates vulnerable individuals of fraudulent recruitment practices and the risks of labor exploitation so as to avoid being trafficked.
CAMSA intervenes to rescue, care for and protect victims. It is essential that victims are not only rescued from abusive situations but are safely reintegrated into society as empowered individuals.
CAMSA collaborates with law enforcement to ensure that perpetrators, employers, and the sybdicates across international borders are prosecuted. CAMSA utilizes economic and legal means to hold perpetrators responsible for their crime and works towards full compensation for the victim.
CAMSA partners with governments, non-governmental organizations, inter-government agencies, and individual champions. Only by working together will we achieve effective laws, policies and their implementation.
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: DR. NGUYEN DINH THANG
In late 1978, he fled Vietnam with his parents and two younger siblings by boat and arrived in a Malaysian refugee camp. Seven months later his family of five resettled in Northern Virginia. Thang entered Northern Virginia Community College. In 1986 he graduated with a M.S. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
While working as a research engineer at a U.S. naval research lab, he volunteered with BPSOS. As governments in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong started to push back the boat people to sea, in 1990 Thang launched a five-year legal aid initiative in refugee camps combined with a long-haul policy advocacy campaign in the U.S.
These efforts successfully secured the resettlement of close to 20,000 boat people to the U.S. after their involuntary repatriation to Vietnam.
In 2001, Thang left his engineering career to dedicate full time to community service. He built BPSOS from a small organization to become the largest Vietnamese American non-profit with operations in eleven cities in the U.S. and three Asian countries. In 2008 he co- founded Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA), which has so far rescued or assisted in the rescue of over five thousand victims. In 2010 he started a multi-year journey across the U.S. and Canada to identify and rally young community leaders in a common cause: to empower and strengthen local Vietnamese communities so as to serve as a strong base to bring about democratic changes to Vietnam.