Vietnamese woman trafficked to China returns home after 22 years

By Hoang Hanh   July 3, 2019 | 08:26 pm PT
A woman from Vietnam’s deep south, tricked and sold in China in 1997, has returned home and is reunited with her family.

Nguyen Thi Hon, 43, landed in Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta early on Thursday and will return to her hometown in nearby Bac Lieu Province.

Her brother Nguyen Van Tang had traveled to Lang Son Province on the China border in the far north to confirm her identity and bring her home.

Locals in Lang Son found her last month wandering near the Chinese border in panic, as they described it.

She told them she had been lost in China for years and could not find her way back home, and they sent her to the province center for social protection.

Her story was posted on Facebook and shared widely, which enabled her family to find her.

Nguyen Hong Cam, chairwoman of Hon’s hometown, Long Dien Dong Commune in Dong Hai District, said Hon was married and divorced and did not have children.

Due to poverty she left home and went to Can Tho City to look for a living in 1997, and her family lost contact with her.

Later they looked for her far and wide, but could not find her, assumed she had died, and even set up an altar for her.

Earlier this year, when authorities launched a population census, her family reported her as dead.

Cam said: "Hon has several siblings but they are all poor. Her father is dead and her mother is now in her 80s."

She added that the commune had helped Hon acquire all personal papers again.

Nguyen Thi Hon (R) and her brother Nguyen Van Tang reunite in Lang Son Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Tuan.

Nguyen Thi Hon (R) and her brother Nguyen Van Tang reunite in Lang Son Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Tuan.

Hon told the media that in 1997, while leaving for home from Can Tho, she met a person -- whose identity she can no longer recall -- who claimed to be from Bac Lieu and offered to take her there.

On the way she was offered some food, and passed out after eating it. When she came around, she was in China.

She was sold to a Chinese man, but after a few years, since she could not have a baby, the man and his family threw her out.

She was homeless for a while before the Chinese police took her to the border gate in Lang Son Province and left her there.

Data from Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security shows that since 2010 there have been over 3,000 cases of human trafficking involving almost 7,000 victims, mostly women and children from poor and rural areas.

A majority were sold to men seeking wives in China, Malaysia and South Korea or just to bear children or forced into prostitution.

China rescued more than 1,100 women trafficked into the country, many of them sold as brides, in a joint operation with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam between July and December 2018, Chinese police said in a statement last month.

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