Woman jailed for forcing children to beg for money

By Truong Ha   May 13, 2021 | 12:11 am PT
Woman jailed for forcing children to beg for money
Dao Thi Gai at a trial in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, May 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Truong Ha.
A woman and her brother in Ba Ria-Vung Tau were sentenced to prison for forcing her children to beg on the streets.

Dao Thi Gai, the 39-year-old mother, was charged with "maltreatment or abuse of one's grandparent, parent, spouse, child, grandchild, or caregiver" and "deliberate infliction of bodily harm upon another person," according to the People's Court of Xuyen Moc District in the southern province. She was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail.

Her brother, 25-year-old Dao Van Be, was sentenced to eight years in jail on both charges.

Gai and Be had previously forced Gai's five children to beg on the streets. The duo also beat the children multiple times, the court heard.

In early 2019, Gai brought two of the children, aged two and three, to Xuyen Moc District to beg. The other three children remained with their grandmother, Gai's mother-in-law. In October 2019, Gai forced two of her children staying with their grandma, aged nine and ten, to drop out of school and beg for money too.

Gai and Be forced the children to bring home at least VND900,000 ($39) a day. If they failed to meet the quota, they would be beaten with electric wires, rods and left to starve.

In June last year, two of the children managed to escape their home and returned to their grandma on a bus. Their siblings were later rescued by the local SOS group in collaboration with the police.

In court, Gai admitted to her crimes, but said she only beat the children "one or two times because they were stubborn."

One of her children, 10-year-old Duyen, testified before the court, saying Gai and Be covered for each other. She described how she and her siblings were forced to wake up at 4 a.m., fed with only rice and soy sauce before having to begin their day of begging.

As VND900,000 often proved too large an amount for them to collect, the children were frequently beaten and starved. While at the market, Duyen would often ask vendors for some food to give her siblings in secret. When Gai found out, she seized the food and beat the children "half to death."

"Uncle Be beat us the hardest," the girl said through her tears. "I don't want the court to give them lighter sentences. Please treat them in accordance with the law," she added.

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