Over 5 pct of Vietnamese children have trafficking-related experiences: report

By Phan Anh   August 14, 2019 | 05:00 pm PT
Over 5 pct of Vietnamese children have trafficking-related experiences: report
A Vietnamese woman, now 22, was rescued after being sold to China. Photo by AFP/Manan Vatsyayana.
In Vietnam, 5.6 percent of children may "have experiences related to child trafficking," said a report by Coram International and UNICEF.

"Casting Light in the Shadows: Child and youth migration, exploitation and trafficking in Vietnam," released on Tuesday at a conference in Hanoi, said they were either trafficking victims or exposed to trafficking risks.

Vietnamese girls and boys are equally at risk of trafficking, while less than one in 10 victims of trafficking or labor exploitation received any form of support.

The report, surveyed 3,885 people aged 12 to 24 in 36 Vietnam localities from 2017.

"This study provides important evidence of the prevalence of child trafficking and the experiences of exploited or trafficked children," Lesley Miller, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Vietnam, said.

"It also reveals that both boys and girls are impacted, reinforcing the need for gender-responsive prevention and responses."

Kara Apland, senior researcher at research institute Coram International, said: "The majority of trafficking survivors never access support services. Furthermore, services were found to be focused on a particular profile of trafficking victim: typically, female victims of sex or marriage trafficking, who were trafficked across borders."

The majority of trafficking victims make active decisions to migrate in pursuit of opportunities and subsequently experience violence and labor exploitation, the report said.

Children and young people from deprived backgrounds and those living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.

Trafficking survivors face challenges reintegrating into their communities and stigma, particularly women and girls.

Promotion of integrated approaches against trafficking, prioritization of children’s access to education and skill training, safe employment opportunities and livelihood programs are among its recommendations to combat child trafficking and labor exploitation.

About 80 percent of human trafficking victims in Vietnam end up in China, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Most cases are from northern border provinces such as Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Dien Bien, and Quang Ninh, and most of the victims are women or children.

Traffickers increasingly use the Internet, gaming sites and, particularly, social media to lure potential victims into vulnerable situations while many men entice young women and girls with online dating relationships and persuade them to move abroad and then subject them to forced labor or sex trafficking.

China, the world’s most populous country, suffers from one of the worst gender imbalance rates due to its one-child policy and illicit abortion of female fetuses by parents wanting sons, leading to increasing trafficking of Vietnamese women and baby girls.

In its 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report issued in June, the U.S. said Vietnam has not fully met the minimum standards of the U.S.’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 but is making significant efforts to comply with those standards, including running awareness campaigns in vulnerable communities.

The lack of interagency coordination and provincial officials' lack of familiarity with anti-trafficking laws and victim protection however continue to impede anti-trafficking efforts, it said.

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