Police free enslaved women at southern karaoke bars

By Phuoc Tuan   December 5, 2022 | 09:11 pm PT
Police free enslaved women at southern karaoke bars
Police raid a house in Bien Hoa Town of Dong Nai Province where 14 women are held captive, December 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha
Police in Vietnam's southern province of Dong Nai have rescued 14 women held captive and forced into prostitution at local karaoke bars.

The women, aged 18-25, were found early this month held captive by eight men at a house with no official address in the provincial capital of Bien Hoa.

The bust was made as the result of a joint investigation by national police and detectives in Bien Hoa.

The operation had investigated several karaoke bars in Bien Hoa where female employees are forced to perform sex acts with customers.

After bringing the captive women to safety, police arrested Nguyen Thi Cam Tuyen, her husband Tran Dinh Hung, and 11 others on Monday.

Tuyen and Hung, both 31, have allegedly been running a trafficking ring that forced women to work against their will at their karaoke bars in Bien Hoa.

The couple are being investigated for illegally keeping people, property appropriation, providing heavy-interest loans in civil transactions, organization of prostitution activities, and committing fraud, according to investigators.

Nguyen Thi Cam Tuyen at the police station, December 5, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

Nguyen Thi Cam Tuyen at a police station in Dong Nai Province, December 5, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

Police said at the residence they also seized a cache of weapons as well as incriminating documents related to illegal usurious loans.

Detectives said the couple had hired job brokers in Ho Chi Minh City to trick women into work at their karaoke bars, promising them high salaries and good working environments.

But when the women came to interview for the job, Tuyen locked them at the house with no address in Bien Hoa and had guards keep them captive.

Then she took them to karaoke bars and forced them to provide sexual services to customers.

Tuyen and her husband also loaned each woman VND20-25 million ($830-1,000) at 20-30% interest per month. And they collected ruthlessly, police said.

Girls being tricked into sex work at karaoke and massage parlors is not a rare occurrence in Vietnam. In most cases, the women come from poor families and drop out of school early to find work and support their families. They are then often lured by recruitment posts on social media created by human traffickers promising high salaries.

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