Relocation of Duong Thi My Trung's family by A.R.V.N.

SR 2099
718 Take 1
Interview with Duong Thi My Trung, 28, former prostitute.
You were in Soc Trang. You dropped out of school. You went to Saigon. What were your first impressions about Saigon. When you got to Saigon what did you do?
Duong Thi My Trung:
When I was small I lived with my family in a small village in the province of Soc Trang. My family had some land, some paddy fields and some gardens. We lived as rice cultivators and gardeners. But by 1969 or 1970, the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam came and rounded us up and relocated us to the provincial town.
They did not allow us to live in our own villages anymore. They relocated us to the provincial town so that they could bomb the countryside. This was because they said that the whole area was infested with Viet Cong. Therefore they did not allow the inhabitants to come back there and live. At that time my family had to be moved to the provincial town of Soc Trang. My father was a government functionary.
Therefore, his pay was not enough to live on. He was unable to feed me and my brothers and sisters. For this reason, I was forced to become a peddler in the marketplaces. As a peddler, I couldn't make enough profit to live on either. Some days I even suffered a loss. Therefore, when I met a friend my friend told me that if we smuggled tax free goods, such as American goods, then we would be able to make a huge profit.
I listened to my friend and asked my family for permission to go to Saigon to buy the merchandise to take back to the provincial town for sale. I was able to make a lot of profit the first few times. And so I was thrilled. But later on the inspection along the road was extremely tight. And so when they found out that we were evading taxes, they confiscated all our goods. As a result, I became totally broke.

Corruption and prostitution in Saigon

Please tell us what your first impressions of Saigon were.
Duong Thi My Trung:
When I first got to Saigon, I felt that it was a very joyful place. It was quite an extraordinary place for me, especially because of the clothes – at that time the Americans were here and the clothes were all fashions brought over from the West.
All these things were new to me who was a country girl and who never had the same styles of clothes before. The other thing was that my friend took me to the music saloons to have drinks and to listen to music. And because I have an artist's blood in me, I really liked the melodious and romantic music very much. For this reason, I found that Saigon had many things which could satisfy my personal needs and desires.
And so by and by I was not homesick anymore. All the demands of youth and the failure of my business venture retained me in Saigon for good. I did not want to go home again.
719 Take 1
After the confiscation of all my merchandise, which wiped me out completely, I read in the newspapers and saw an advertisement for a job as a cashier. While I worked there, the woman who owned the establishment bought me a lot of clothes. All those things which she saw that I liked, she bought for me.
I did not think that she was going to deduct these things from my salary. But after a while, she charged me for all these things in cash and demanded repayment. At that time I was quite flustered. I did know what to do to get the cash to pay her. Then she said that I should agree to take a certain man who would give me the money with which I could pay my debt to her.
Furthermore, she said, I could get money to help out my family. I was very torn at that time. She threatened that if I could not come up with the money, she would call in the police to arrest me. I was frightened and I agreed to have that man. One day she had another woman take me to the man's house. The two of them talked with each other, but I did not know what the conversation was all about.
The woman then told me to remain there to get the money. So I remained there. The man asked me whether I wanted to go some place to enjoy myself. And I said that I just did not know where to go, adding that since childhood I had been living with my family and therefore did not know places at all. The man then told me that he would take me to Can Tho where we would stay for three days.
I thought that I were to live with that man as husband and wife. But to my surprise he had me for only three days and then told me that he was returning me to the woman who was the owner of that establishment.