Vietnam official keeps job after sexually harassing cleaning woman

By VnExpress   October 20, 2016 | 08:10 pm PT
Vietnam official keeps job after sexually harassing cleaning woman
A screen cut from an online video shows Ho Ngoc Tan, a Ca Mau official, touching a cleaning woman in his office.
The worker quit after he harassed her in his office. He was reprimanded.

A government official in the southern province of Ca Mau Province has escaped a sexual harassment scandal almost unscathed even after the victim, an office cleaner, provided a video as evidence.

Ho Ngoc Tan, deputy director of the province’s culture department, was simply reprimanded by Ca Mau’s Party unit for “violating ethic rules and civil lifestyle,” a source from the province government said on Thursday.

In Vietnam, a reprimand alone is considered a form of punishment for misconduct by Party members. Stronger measures, such as warning, demotion and expulsion, are only taken in cases deemed serious by officials.

The province in the Mekong Delta received a complaint from a woman in August who said that Tan deliberately touched her “private parts” while she was working at his office as a cleaner early this year.

She also provided a video as evidence. She has quit.

At first Tuan rejected the accusation, claiming that the cleaner was "framing" him because he often criticized her work.

He claimed that he only "accidently touched" her.

But when the video emerged online, Ca Mau province decided to look into the case and finally rebuked him.

It is unclear if the woman will take further legal action.

Vietnam does not have strong laws to protect workers, particularly women, from sexual harrassment. In many places the crime continues to be treated simply as an ethical violation.

The country developed its first ever code of conduct on workplace sexual harassment last year with support from the International Labor Organization.

Around 1,000 sexual assaults are reported each year in Vietnam, where surveys found girls and women are regularly victims of sexual harassment in public places and the workplace.

A government report in 2012 showed that most of the victims of sexual harassment in the country are female workers aged between 18 and 30.

Many choose to keep silent out of shame and the fear of losing their job.

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