Three jailed for trafficking underage girls to China for forced marriages

By Phan Anh   September 30, 2020 | 05:40 pm PT
Three jailed for trafficking underage girls to China for forced marriages
(From R) Duong Minh Hung, Bui Thuy Thu and Nguyen Thi A Khuong stand trial in Can Tho for human trafficking, September 30, 2020. Photo courtesy of the Phap Luat HCMC Newspaper.
Three people in the Mekong Delta's Can Tho City were sentenced to between 10 and 16 years in jail Wednesday for human trafficking.

Duong Minh Hung, 35, received the 16-year jail term, Nguyen Thi A Khuong, 22, received 12 years and Bui Thuy Thu, 40, 10 years for trafficking persons under 16.

Khuong, Thu’s daughter, married a Chinese man in 2017. The Chinese husband, Khuong, Thu and Hung later formed a human trafficking ring to smuggle Vietnamese girls/women into China for marriage with Chinese men.

Thu and Khuong were in charge of finding the girls/women. Hung was the middle man who would take them across the border to China. The Chinese husband was in charge of finding Chinese men wanting Vietnamese wives.

In January 2018, two twin sisters aged 14 were taken to China on Thu’s recommendation and married off to two unidentified men there, Phap Luat HCMC newspaper said. The ring earned VND660 million ($28,484) from this deal, with Thu receiving VND238 million. She gave VND140 million to the girls’ family, the court heard.

After living for about a year in China, the two girls wanted to return to Vietnam. Khuong helped one return to Vietnam in February 2019 and she herself returned in May the same year. The other girl remains stuck in China and no information was immediately available on any steps being taken to bring her back.

After only one of her daughters returned from China, the girls’ mother informed authorities of what had happened.

Thu, Khuong and Hung confessed to the police that they had trafficked seven other women to China, of whom one has returned to Vietnam.

Past reports have indicated that dire poverty forces many women to look for foreign husbands to help their families. Several years ago, many reports exposed the practice of women from the Mekong Delta being paraded before foreign men, mostly South Korean and Taiwanese, for being selected as brides. Many of the brides were mistreated and some committed suicide. Many persons engaged in the illegal brokering were arrested and punished.

Vietnam reported 60 human trafficking cases in the first half of 2020, with 90 victims, mainly women and children, sold to foreign countries like China. China suffers one of the worst gender imbalances in the world due to its former one-child policy and illegal abortion of female fetuses by parents who prefer sons, which has led to increased trafficking of Vietnamese women and baby girls to the country.

Traffickers typically trick their victims with promises of a better life with high-income jobs, instead subjecting them to forced labor and/or prostitution. They mainly target women and children in rural and mountainous areas near the border where they live in poverty and have little access to education and social media, activists say.

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