Vietnam, US snare suspected human smugglers in joint operation

By Minh Nga   January 13, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnam, US snare suspected human smugglers in joint operation
A nail salon opens in Georgia, U.S., April 25, 2020. A number of Vietnamese nationals have been smuggled into the U.S. to work at hair and nail salons. Photo by Reuters/Maranie Staab.
Vietnamese and American authorities, in a joint investigation into transnational human smuggling, have arrested two suspects charged with smuggling migrants into the U.S.

Following a tip off from an alleged victim of human smuggling, U.S. and Vietnamese law enforcement agencies conducted an investigation in Vietnam that contributed to a subsequent six-count federal indictment issued by the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC stated.

As detailed in criminal proceedings in the U.S. last October, defendants Nguyen Ngoc Manh and Ho Tat Dat are alleged to have smuggled Vietnamese nationals into the U.S. to work for unlawfully low wages at hair and nail salons in New York City and on Long Island.

Between January 2017 and September last year, the defendants and others arranged for Vietnamese nationals to enter the U.S. illegally, either using fraudulently obtained travel documents or by being smuggled overland from Canada or Mexico.

If convicted, Manh and Dat face up to 15 years' imprisonment.

"This investigation, a joint effort between U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security, stands as yet another tragic example of willing participants in a human smuggling venture exploited by predatory criminals," said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.

"U.S. Mission Vietnam stands in partnership with the government of Vietnam in rooting out these egregious crimes wherever in the world they occur, and to bringing the perpetrators to justice. This success is evidence of the growing collaboration between U.S. and Vietnamese law enforcement and shows our shared commitment to combating human trafficking, and other transnational crimes," he added.

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