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The offer came to families on the edge of desperation, living and working around the clock on garbage dumps whose sickening stench seeps into their clothes.
A motherly woman accompanied by a kindly gentleman arrived one day in early December, shortly before the New Year’s Tet celebration when the poorest of the poor hope for a little extra cash for modest festivities. The two said they were looking for attractive young women to work in a Ho Chi Minh City cafe, and they were ready to give each family a $60 advance — a small fortune for people barely scraping by on a couple of dollars a day — or less.