Police in southern Vietnam have arrested six members of a gang including two foreigners for allegedly trafficking 147 poor women to China and South Korea, and rescued 17 would-be victims.
Nguyen Thi Suong, 56, of Tay Ninh Province allegedly organized the human trade through illegal marriage brokerages together with Du Quoc Thang, 45, from neighboring Ho Chi Minh City, and Nguyen Thi Tat, 39, and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hien, 34, of Dong Nai Province, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
The foreigners, whose identities have not been revealed, were caught in HCMC while boarding a flight to Hanoi with three women Wednesday night. Tay Ninh officers cooperated with their HCMC counterparts and investigators from the Ministry of Public Security for the bust.
From Hanoi the women would have been taken to China by road.
Confessions by the Vietnamese traffickers enabled the police to rescue 14 more would-be victims.
They also seized seven passports, six flight tickets, and 11 ID cards that the traffickers had seized from the victims besides seven credit cards and nine sets of marriage brokerage documents.
The gang said it had started the business late last year after meeting some Chinese and South Koreans who were looking for Vietnamese women to marry old and poor men in their countries not able to find wives.
In many cases Vietnamese women were paraded in front of the foreign men to be chosen.
The gang’s targets were gullible women from poor families in the Mekong Delta.
The foreigners were charged VND200-250 million (US$9,400-11,800) for a bride, depending on her appearance.
For each woman selected, Suong paid her family VND10 million ($470).
The women were taught a little Chinese or Korean.
The police are continuing their investigations.
In 2013 the police said they had busted more than 3,000 attempts to traffic women across the Chinese border since 2003.
In 2012 alone authorities rescued around 1,200 would-be victims.
Many were bound for brothels or as wives to Chinese men willing to pay for them.
In 2013 Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Sun Xiaoying, a researcher at the Research Institute of Southeast Asia at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that China’s gender imbalance had led to a surge in demand for Vietnamese wives.
China had 697.2 million males to 663.4 million females in 2013, according to statistics published by the National Bureau of Statistic last January.
Statistics from the Korean Institute of Social and Health Affairs showed that 7,636 Vietnamese women married Korean men in 2011, topping the list of foreign brides. A year earlier they had been joint top with Chinese brides at 9,623.
The Korea story has, however, been more dangerous for the Vietnamese women.
Many women have been affected by the language barrier and cultural clashes and the dream lives they envisioned have been just that.
One woman from the Mekong Delta allegedly hanged herself in Busan in April last year after marrying a Korean man through brokers in 2006.
In January last year another woman from the Delta hanged herself in Gumi, eastern Korea, because of conflicts with her mother-in-law.
In November 2012 a delta woman jumped from the 18th floor of a Busan building while holding her son and daughter. The husband had lost all the family money and treated her violently.
In May 2012 a South Korean farmer beat his Vietnamese wife to death.
The list goes on and on.