Vietnamese youth bike to Cambodia in anti-human trafficking campaign

TN News

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Ten Vietnamese youth have registered to participate in a bicycle tour from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodia in a campaign against human trafficking that is increasingly taking place in border areas.

The Rainbow Campaign is the first bicycle trip in Vietnam that aims to raise public awareness on human trafficking and call for forces to prevent the practice, news website VietNamNet said in a report Friday.

Participants have to bring their own bicycles for the 530km trip and contribute VND1 million (US$48.63) each to a shared fund.

The journey, starting August 1 and expected to end on the 11th, will wind through the Mekong Delta region before it reaches Phnom Penh. The participants will return via the Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province neighboring HCMC.

Pham Truong Nhat Thanh, chief organizer of the campaign, said that the idea for the campaign came after he read about human trafficking activity at provinces along the Vietnam and Cambodia border.

Thanh said that women and children trafficking cases have been increasing, but residents either do not care or are badly informed of the situation.

"Through this campaign, we want more attention paid by local governments to this problem and to raise awareness among residents," he said.

The participants will stop at locations en route to provide information about human trafficking, especially to women and children, the usual targets of the illegal activity.

A campaign message will be printed on the T-shirts and the flag on each bicycle, Thanh said.

Ten people have registered for the campaign and have been trained in first aid and other skills needed for the long trip.

After the trip, participants will continue anti-human trafficking propaganda activities in Mekong Delta provinces.

According to government statistics released December 2010, authorities have logged 1,586 cases of women and children trafficking in Vietnam between 2004 and 2009.

These cases involved a total of 4,000 victims.

Environment protection

Many volunteer and social groups this summer have also organized bicycle trips across Vietnam to promote environment protection.

One of the trips took off early this month when 120 volunteers from the Green Summer group started to pedal through 29 cities and provinces between Hanoi and the southernmost province of Ca Mau. The journey is expected to end on August 15.

Another trip calling young people to help protect the nation's forests started in Hanoi on July 13 and is expected to finish in HCMC Wednesday next week.

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