Hanoi court sends 5 Vietnamese to prison for human trafficking

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A Hanoi court Thursday sentenced five members of a human-trafficking syndicate to six, eight, nine and ten years in jail for attempting to sell four Vietnamese women to brothels in China.

The victims, all from Dak Lak Province in the Central Highlands, eavesdropped on conversations between the traffickers and called the police who rescued them just before they were about to be brought across the Chinese border in August of last year.

They said they had been offered jobs at a café in Hanoi which would pay them VND3 million (US$144) per month. But on the way to Hanoi, they grew suspicious when they heard the gang members discussing passports.

At a guesthouse in Hanoi, the women were encouraged to drink wine which was intended to render them unconscious for the trip to China that night, but the women were able to spit out the wine before it took effect.

Then they called the police.

Nguyen Thi Dung, the alleged mastermind behind the human trafficking ring, who returned to Vietnam from China in 2008, is still at large. She had allegedly offered VND8 million (US$384) for each woman brought across the border.

Dung's son, Ta Dinh Hoan, 28, received 10 years in prison for running the crime syndicate in Vietnam.

Hoan's right-hand man, Nguyen Van Tuan, 24, received a nine year sentence for his involvement.

Bien Thi Huong, 29, and Le Thi Phuong, 28, both Dak Lak locals, were sentenced to nine and six years respectively for their role in searching out women to be trafficked.

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Le Thi Hoa, 48, a resident of Quang Ninh Province which borders China, received an eight year punishment for her role in transporting the victims across the border.

Hoan is also under investigation for another case in which he allegedly received VND20 million ($960) to traffick two women from central Vietnam to China.

Vietnamese anti-trafficking authorities and the Border Guard Command said at an August 21 conference that they have rescued 398 people from being trafficked across the Chinese border since 2009.

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