Vietnam probes sale of newborns to China

By Nguyen Hai   January 28, 2019 | 12:54 am PT
Vietnam probes sale of newborns to China
Moong Thi Oanh, 32, is questioned at a Nghe An police station. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai
A 32-year-old woman from Nghe An is being investigated for luring pregnant women to China for selling their newborns.

Moong Thi Oanh faces charges of "organizing and/or coercing other persons to flee abroad," a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail under Vietnam’s Penal Code. She is now pregnant and has been placed under house arrest.

Preliminary investigations show that Oanh is married to a Chinese man and has lived in China for many years. Last year, she returned to Vietnam and persuaded four heavily pregnant women (around eight months) in Ky Son District to cross over the border into China to sell their newborns to unknown traffickers for VND40 million to VND80 million ($1,725 to 3,451) each.

Last September, as her husband was driving the group of women to China, the car overturned. One of the four women died on the spot and three others suffered injuries and were hospitalized for treatment.

Nghe An Police and Blue Dragon, a Hanoi-based non profit organization working with street children and trafficking victims, organized a rescue operation and successfully brought the injured victims home last Saturday.

Police said they are expanding their investigation into trafficking of newborns to China.

Nghe An, around 300 km (190 miles) south of Hanoi, has been a hotbed for human trafficking, which has shown no sign of slowing down in recent years. The province reported at least 27 pregnant women traveling to China to sell their babies last year.

China, the most populous country, suffers from one of the worst gender imbalance rates in the world due to the one-child policy and illicit abortion of female fetuses by parents wanting male heirs.

This has led to rising kidnapping, tricking and trafficking of Vietnamese women and baby girls, and now, babies.

Besides financial difficulties of the victims, experts have highlighted negligence, poor education, weak law enforcement and gender imbalance in destination countries as major factors driving human trafficking.

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