When people are in trouble, they look for help most from those agencies whose job and duty it is to protect and safeguard their rights.
However, the sad truth is that concerned authorities and agencies often fail to fulfill their most basic obligations and meet people's expectations.
Earlier this week, the press reported scams where people in the central provinces were cheated into working for coffee farms in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong for salaries much lower than they were offered at first to take up the jobs.
The cheated workers said they were recruited by brokers who offered them salaries of VND3.5-4.5 million (US$179.57- 230.88) a month, but later handed over to a company that forced them to sign contracts for monthly salaries of just VND1.3-1.7 million ($66.68-87.20). They were also ordered to pay the "recruitment fees" that the company had paid the brokers, the workers told Thanh Nien.
As the work was too heavy, the workers quit but were forced to accept that their families would pay the company the "recruitment fees."
So far, only residents of Khanh Hoa Province have come out with their story, but there is evidence that their brethren from other central provinces like Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Gia Lai have been conned in similar ways.
However, while authorities in Binh Dinh ordered agencies to investigate reports that 40 locals have been trapped in Lam Dong and issued strong warnings against such scams, their counterparts in Phu Yen Province have not shown much concern.
In fact, in a phone interview with Thanh Nien, Nguyen Van Lang, director of Phu Yen Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said they were yet to receive any order from leaders about the reports.
He suggested Thanh Nien reporters directly contact related localities.
When asked about the reports, Pham Minh Chu, chairman of Dong Hoa District, whose residents have allegedly been cheated, said they were yet to send officials to Lam Dong to investigate the issue.
Meanwhile, Tran Trong Quyen, vice chairman of Tay Hoa District, said he had no idea about the reports and promised that he would check again.
Surprising, because Dao Tan Loc, secretary of Phu Yen's Party Unit, had earlier told Thanh Nien that he had asked agencies to cooperate with Lam Dong Province to investigate the case and to protect the workers.
Even if their leaders have not specifically directed them, local administrations need to stay abreast of people's hardships, especially if they have been reported in the media, and act of their volition. It is their duty and it is what people deserve.
It's unacceptable that while workers are in trouble, authorities stand still and make no move to help them.