Vietnam embassy warns of workers trapped in Africa

By Duc Trung   October 12, 2022 | 10:31 pm PT
Vietnam embassy warns of workers trapped in Africa
A Congolese boy walks past a wall in Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, April 1, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Baz Ratner
The Vietnam Embassy in Angola has advised Vietnamese to research carefully before going to Africa for work, following multiple reports of workers who could not leave.

The embassy on Monday said it had received multiple requests for help from Vietnamese citizens being trapped in certain African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

The workers said they were in particularly tough circumstances.

Some said they were persuaded to come for construction work, with accommodations and meals covered, and a monthly salary of $1,500-3,000. Others were promised "easy jobs with high pay" at VND30-90 million ($1,247-3,742) a month.

But in fact, they were forced to work at casinos or karaoke parlors, had their passports seized by employers, or had their salaries delayed or reduced. Some were told to owe $8,000 of living costs and travel costs to Africa, and they would have to pay this money back if they want to return to Vietnam, or they would be reported to authorities.

Many workers could not speak local languages, making it difficult for them to contact authorities for help.

The embassy said it is trying to deploy citizen protection measures for the workers.

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