Health ministry suspects hospital insiders abetting trafficking of newborns

By Le Nga   June 25, 2019 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Health ministry suspects hospital insiders abetting trafficking of newborns
Two babies inside an incubator at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Phuong.

Hospitals and other institutions in Vietnam have been warned to prevent staff’s complicity in the trafficking of newborns.

In a recent document sent to hospitals and other medical entities, the Ministry of Health asked that they strictly monitor their personnel, streamline management and other processes to prevent the trafficking of newborns.

The ministry noted that several newborn trafficking rings operating in disguise of child adoption service have been discovered recently, disrupting social order and undermining safety. It said the possibility that these rings had been supported by hospitals’ and other medical institutions’ personnel cannot be excluded.

Cases of newborn trafficking are not uncommon in Vietnam, with most of the babies being trafficked to China, which suffers from one of the worst gender imbalance rates in the world due to its one-child policy leading to illicit abortions of female fetuses by parents preferring male heirs.

This has led to rising kidnapping, tricking and trafficking of Vietnamese women and girls, and now, babies.

Earlier this month, Hanoi police busted a newborn trafficking ring headed by a university student, according to a report from Vietnam's top prosecution agency. The ring trafficked babies from southern provinces to Hanoi, then to China. Six people have been detained.

Another woman in the central province of Nghe An was also put under investigation this month for luring pregnant neighbor to China to sell her newborn. The province, around 300 km (190 miles) south of Hanoi, has become a hotbed for human trafficking in recent years, with officials finding that at least 27 pregnant women travelled to China to sell their newborns last year.

Financial difficulties of the victims aside, experts have highlighted negligence, poor education, weak law enforcement and gender imbalance in destination countries as major factors driving human trafficking.

"Many of the victims are forced into becoming pregnant and giving up their babies; they are deceived by traffickers and taken to China believing they are on the way to a job," Australian Michael Brosowski, founder of Blue Dragon, a Hanoi-based non-profit organization working with street children and trafficking victims, told VnExpress International.

"These women had no choice at all. Some were in desperate situations and felt they had no option; they were in debt and had huge bills to pay, and thought that selling a baby was the only way out."

 
 
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