Human trafficking is on the rise in Vietnam, with 3,862 victims having been trafficked for forced labor, prostitution and organ trade since 2011, officials told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.
“Human trafficking is growing and related crimes have been reported in all 63 cities and provinces nationwide,” said Colonel Le Van Chuong, deputy director of the Advisory Department under the Ministry of Public Security.
According to a report by the Central Government’s Anti-crime Steering Committee, the number of Vietnamese victims of human trafficking from 2011-2015 increased by 11 percent over the previous five years.
Provinces with the highest numbers of cases are mostly in the north, including Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Lang Son.
Chuong said that the official number was based on reports from the police, local media and the victims.
“The actual number is much higher,” he said.
According to the Anti-crime Steering Committee, most of the victims of human trafficking were poor, unemployed and not highly educated. More than 85 percent of the victims from 2011-2015 were women and children.
About 70 percent of the victims were brought to China while most of the rest were taken into Laos and Cambodia.
In Tay Ninh Province, which borders Cambodia, police busted nine trafficking rings and arrested 115 people, including 59 Chinese nationals, and rescued 204 women.
Some Chinese websites have advertised a Vietnamese bride at 30,000 yuan (US$5,000), including free trips to Vietnam, according to the report. Police busted nearly 1,200 cases linked to these marriage brokering rings and arrested more than 2,000 people.
Chuong also warned about the “alarming” trend of women being trafficked and forced into prostitution.
“Each year, about 3,000 women being brought to Malaysia and 2,000 others to Singapore as illegal laborers. They actually worked as prostitutes,” he said.
A kidney for $2,300
The conference also heard warnings about organ trafficking.
“Vietnam is a hot spot for human trafficking. Recently, the trafficking of men, newborns and organs is becoming more serious,” Chuong said.
“Last year, thousands of people in Hue sold their kidneys to traffickers. The black market price of a kidney is VND1 billion, and but they only pay the victim VND50-100 million.”
In many cases, the victims were taken to private clinics in China and became very weak after selling their kidney, he said.
According to the Anti-crime Steering Committee, social affairs agencies have supported nearly 1,800 victims of human trafficking in reintegration programs, vocational training, medical treatment and legal consulting.
The agency is drafting a five year program to continue tackling human trafficking. The government will earmark VND250 billion for the program, with additional funding from international donors.