Hsi Lien

UN Crime Buster


I was born in 1975 in New York; my mother is American and my father Chinese. He fled China with his family towards the end of the Cultural Revolution and married my mother in 1970.

When I finished school I applied for the New York Police Department, was accepted, trained and worked vice there for a few years. The things I saw horrified me—the effects of drug abuse and prostitution, the horrors of domestic violence and the abuse of alcohol—but among the many things that angered me was the attitude of many police. After a while many of them, out of necessity, became hardened to the suffering all around, and were often unable to feel the deep compassion that many of the victims needed if they were ever going to recover. I know they had access to mental health specialists but we were the first contact they had with the legal system and they needed to know we cared about them and that they weren’t just a case number to us.

Then there were the even darker and more dangerous issues…

I started my work against traffickers in women and children when I encountered many of their victims while working with the NYPD. I simply couldn’t ignore their plight. Many had been abducted from their homes in Third World countries, or tempted to leave under false pretences and then sold or indentured, but many were taken in payment of debts owed by their parents, who have no idea of their ultimate fate. Often the parents are so poor that the sale of one child allows them to raise the rest. It’s not really their fault. They’ve been deliberately trapped into this practice and they, like the children, deserve justice and protection. I intend to see that they get it.

I transferred from the NYPD to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, moving to Uzbekistan in the hope of finding and punishing the monsters responsible for such misery.

I hunt them down and make certain that they never have the opportunity to do so again!


Several years ago we discovered that there was a secret ‘railroad’ passing through Uzbekistan transporting the victims from Afghanistan and southern Asia Asia to the cities of Europe and the Middle East. Many officers were sent to try and hunt the traffickers down and rescue their victims but the Uzbek government clamped down on international NGOs in response to the violence in Andijan in 2005. Many foreigners were forced to leave. Some of us stayed in secret and continued our work, trying to bring down the trafficking networks.

I guess most people would call me an atheist and I suppose in a way I am, but I call myself a Buddhist, one of the grim, practical kind. I don’t believe in the magical, religious side of it but I do value compassion, independence of thought, caring for others and the fourfold path, though I’m not a pacifist. You can’t always afford that if you need to defend yourself and others but I do use it as a last resort. Because it’s my last resort I have to be very good at it. I’m also a feminist and I take the side of women and children because nobody else will, especially in places like this.

I won’t fail in my task and I’ll never give up.

Keeper Only: draft character sheet for Lien

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