34 Vietnamese women trafficked to China in first six months

By Toan Dao   July 30, 2016 | 07:52 pm PT
High demand for brides among Chinese men has contributed to the rise in victims.

The number of Vietnamese women who were taken illegally to China in the first six months of this year has been reported at 34, the Voice of Vietnam said on Saturday, citing Nguyen Van Thinh, political affairs counselor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing.

The actual number is probably much higher, and only 18 of the known cases have been rescued, Thinh said, adding that human trafficking remains a burning issue in the world’s second largest economy.

Last year, the embassy successfully freed 26 out of the 54 Vietnamese women it was aware had been trafficked to China. Of the 54 victims, 24 came from various ethnic minority groups in northern mountainous provinces such as Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Ha Giang, 20 from the Mekong Delta and the rest from other provinces, according to the political affairs counselor.


Ethnic H'mong girl Kiab (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) makes her bed at a government-run center for trafficked women in the northern city of Lao Cai. When Kiab turned 16, her brother promised to take her to a party in a tourist town in northern Vietnam. Instead, he sold her to a Chinese family as a bride. Photo by AFP

Traffickers often tempt their victims with the prospect of well-paid jobs and persuade poor women from remote areas to go with them to China. The increase in the number of Vietnamese women being sent illegally to China was also fueled by the lack of women in China following its one-child policy, Thinh said.

To get women into China, traffickers don’t actually smuggle them through official border crossings. Instead, they passed secret paths to avoid being stopped by border guard forces.

Seventy percent of trafficking victims in Vietnam are women and girls, with the bulk sent to China as brides, sex workers or factory workers, Reuters quoted Mimi Vu of the Pacific Links Foundation as saying in May.

China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as families prefer male children. As a result, millions of men now cannot find Chinese brides - a key driver of trafficking, according to rights groups.

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