Five Vietnamese women with infertility fined for buying newborns

By Phuoc Tuan   May 22, 2024 | 02:03 am PT
Five Vietnamese women with infertility fined for buying newborns
Defendants who bought, sold newborn babies, and organized the trade, stand trial in Binh Duong Province, May 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Yen Khanh
Five women who bought babies have been fined VND40 million (US$1,570) each by a court in Binh Duong Province, while the baby sellers and brokers received jail sentences.

The Binh Duong Provincial People's Court imposed the penalties on Tuesday after four days of deliberation. Previously, prosecutors proposed suspended jail terms of 6-12 months for each of baby buyers.

The jury explained that the buyers were in difficult circumstances, first-time offenders, and lacked legal knowledge, and they committed the crime because they could not have children on their own.

Related to the case, the court sentenced Chu Thi Cuc Phuong, 42, to 23 years in prison for two charges: "trafficking persons under 16" and "forging documents of state agencies."

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Nhu, 31, received a 21-year sentence for the same charges.

According to the indictment, in 2021, Phuong created a group on social media to find pregnant women who did not want to keep their children. Investigators said the purpose of the group was to buy newborns and then illegally resell them.

Prosecutors said Phuong and Nhu offered pregnancy caretaking services for the women who agreed to sell their children. The defendants bought each child for VND10-30 million (US$400-1,180) and sold them for over 40 million, according to investigators.

To produce "legitimate" documents for the "adoptive" parents, Phuong's group provided fake birth certificates, adoption consent papers and DNA test results that they purchased from another criminal group for VND2-7 million per document.

On Aug. 16, 2022, police caught Nhu in the act of transporting a newborn to sell to a couple in Binh Duong. Fourteen individuals were subsequently arrested.

An investigation determined that from November 2021 through the end of August 2022, Phuong trafficked at least five newborns, making a profit of VND70 million, while Nhu made VND40 million trafficking five others.

In court, Phuong and Nhu admitted their guilt, but claimed ignorance of the law. They said they thought what they did was a normal "purchase and sale agreement."

The eight defendants who sold their babies told the court that they did so because they already had too many children and could not afford to raise any more. They also said they had gotten pregnant unexpectedly out of wedlock.

Eventually, they received jail terms of 5 to 9 years each for "trafficking people under 16 years old."

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