Human trafficking is on the rise in Vietnam, a conservative estimate of 3,862 victims having been trafficked for forced labor, prostitution and organ trade since 2011. But these reported cases are believed by charities to be the tip of the iceberg, as many victims are fearful of telling anyone about what has happened to them because many officials fail to understand the level of grooming and mind control that traffickers exert over child/women victims.
The number of Vietnamese victims of human trafficking from 2011-2015 increased by 11 percent over five years. Human trafficking in Vietnam is increasing at an alarming rate according to Minh Hung in his article “Kidneys, newborns, wives for sale”. Provinces with the highest numbers of cases are mostly in the north, including Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Lang Son. According to the Anti-crime Steering Committee, most of the victims of human trafficking were poor, unemployed and not highly educated. More than 85 percent of the victims from 2011-2015 were women and children.
According to published media, about 70 percent of the victims were taken to China while the rest were taken into Laos and Cambodia. Some Chinese websites have advertised a Vietnamese bride at 30,000 yuan (US$5,000), including free trips to Vietnam, according to the report. Police busted nearly 1,200 cases linked to these marriage brokering rings and arrested more than 2,000 people.
Last year, thousands of people in Hue sold their kidneys to traffickers. Can you believe it? People so poor and desperate that they undergo barbaric surgery to make some money.
As a call to action, “social affair agencies” have partaken in “reintegration programs, vocational training, medical treatment and legal consulting” to aid the thousands of trafficked victims in Vietnam. This epidemic will take a long time to resolve, and the work being carried out here by NGO’s and volunteers is helping to support women who have been subjects of this crime; but it is only assisting a small percentage of the population.
Most Vietnamese are unaware that human trafficking exists here so engaging women in a range of awareness raising and community education activities about trafficking, reproductive and maternal health, hygiene and HIV/AIDS prevention, will be an ongoing, serious and challenging issue.