A welfare center for HIV-positive children in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday suspended five caregivers after a media report accused them of physically abusing the children.
Bui Thanh Son, deputy director of Linh Xuan center, said the suspension came right after the report, which was published on Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper the same day.
He said the women Vu Thi Quy, 52, Tran Thi Thu Trinh, 44, and Nguyen Thi Lan, 46, have admitted to slapping and hitting the children with a slipper during meals as described in the report.
Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, the center's director, was quoted by Tuoi Tre as saying late Monday that the center would suspend two more caregivers, without elaborating on the rationale for doing so.
Tuoi Tre reporters watched over the center for more than a month. The caregivers featured in their video worked in a ward of the center that oversees more than 20 children mostly aged three to six. Some of the children are mentally underdeveloped.
On February 25, Quy was caught screaming and hitting a baby girl in her head after she refused to eat.
Quy raised a slipper and kept smacking it onto the child's legs.
When the girl was about to run, Quy grasped her and shook her quite violently before suddenly dropping her to the floor. The girl was crying the whole time.
Another segment of the video, reportedly taken on January 23, showed Lan pulling an ear of a child and slapping the face of another.
She also pushed a spoon of porridge deep into a baby’s mouth. She forced two other girls to drink water by pushing back their foreheads and then pouring water into their mouths.
Lan was seen moving several children by kicking them forward.
Trinh was caught in a similar routine: screaming at the children, pulling their ears and hitting their heads.
According to the video, some children were beaten for unknown reasons. Some of them were just sitting still.
On March 4, Trinh was seen squeezing the ears of a boy. When he started to cry, she threw a piece of a dumpling into his mouth. He had to finish eating while crying.
Dao Thi Hue, another deputy director of the center, said the faculty employs 15 babysitters and the center has not seen any of them beating a child.
“But we will check and deal with it according to the rules,” she said.
Son said the three caregivers suspended have received basic childcare training and they have been living with the children for more than ten years.
He believed the women were “just angry for the moment.”