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«Trading Happiness»



I was born in Hanoi and raised in Berlin. In Germany, I have all kinds of freedom - like choosing my own partner. My grandparents didn’t have this freedom back then in Vietnam. Many relationships have been arranged or even had to share their partners. Since my Grandmother hadn’t given life to a son, my Grandfather took another wife after their second daughter. She gave him a boy. Boys are considered a fundamental asset to families not just in Vietnam but in China as well. It is their duty to continue the traditions as the head of the family. Having a daughter used to not be very desirable. But what happens to a country that has too many sons?

China’s One-Child-Policy lasted from 1979 until 2015 and effects Asia greatly to this day. Men above the age of 30 who live in the poorer areas of China are statistically not able to find a wife anymore. One option for those men seems to be buying a wife from poor neighbouring countries. Many Vietnamese and Southeast Asian women become victims of human trafficking and arranged marriages.

I met a family whose daughter had been tricked by traffickers in the region of Ha Giang in North Vietnam, near the border to China. She was sedated, brought over the border and sold to people in China where she was first forced to prostitute herself and then married to a stranger. I feel anger and deep sympathy. It is terrifying that stories like hers are not rare cases. I am livid and aim to give this topic a filmic space.

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