VIETNAM; Victim exposes sex-slave gang

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Subject: VIETNAM; Victim exposes sex-slave gang
From: A. Jordan (annj@hrlawgroup.org)
Date: Thu Sep 02 1999 - 18:45:44 EDT


Edited/Distributed by HURINet - The Human Rights Information Network
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## author : vinsight@shell3.ba.best.com
## date : 03.08.99
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South China Morning Post
Thursday, July 29, 1999

VIETNAM

Victim exposes sex-slave gang

HUW WATKIN in Hanoi

Police in southern Binh Thuan province reportedly have
broken up a ring which sold Vietnamese women into sexual
slavery in China. The racket, in which at least nine women
were sent to brothels in southern China, was exposed when a
victim escaped and reported her plight to authorities, state
media reported. Five arrests were made.

Investigations continue and details remain sketchy, but
humanitarian organisations believe southern Vietnam is
becoming an important source of women destined for sexual
slavery in Hong Kong, China, Macau and Southeast Asia.

Concern over the trade prompted a coalition of aid groups to
conduct a study to reveal the nature and size of the
problem.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests Vietnam is becoming central to
the international trade in women, but we don't yet have any
hard statistics," a researcher associated with the study
said.

Vietnam is participating in a three-year United
Nations-funded project with China, Laos, Thailand and
Cambodia to curb the trade in women and children.

The UN recently warned that the regional economic downturn
was further fuelling the trade, which has flourished as a
result of poor law enforcement and corruption.

In Vietnam, women can be sold to brothels for two million
dong (HK$1,120), but according to the Ministry of Labour,
brothels in Taiwan and China pay up to US$7,000 (HK$54,250)
for young Vietnamese women.

According to the ministry, many victims are lured into
marriages with foreigners and migrate with their new
husbands before being sold to brothels.

One source working with an international non-government
organisation said few women smuggled overseas ever managed
to return to Vietnam and the small number who did often
suffered mental illness as a result of their experiences.

Domestic sexual slavery is also reported to be increasing,
with an estimated 20 per cent of Vietnam's commercial sex
workers held in brothels against their will.


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