Police in southern Vietnam arrest 3 for human trafficking

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(L-R) Nguyen Thanh Hieu, 27, Pham Nguyen Anh Huy, 20, Phan Thi Sen, 44, and Ha Van Ngoc, 19. Police in Can Tho City have arrested Hieu, Ngoc and Sen for trafficking women and underage girls, while Huy remains at large.

Police in Can Tho City have arrested two men and one woman for allegedly trafficking local women and underage girls to China where they became sex slaves, Tuoi Tre reported Saturday.

Lieutenant Colonel Pham Quang Cong from the city's social crimes investigation division (PC45) on Saturday said Nguyen Thanh Hieu, also known as Lili, 27, along with Ha Van Ngoc, 19, and Phan Thi Sen, 44, would be investigated under the charge of "human trafficking," while Hieu and Ngoc would be placed under investigation for "child trafficking."

Police are hunting their alleged accomplices, Pham Nguyen Anh Huy, 20, and another man, only identified as Nam, according to recent local media reports.

Colonel Cong said Hieu met Nam in 2009 in the northern province of Quang Ninh, and was asked by the latter to find young women in southern Vietnam for him to sell to China to work as prostitutes.

Hieu, together with Ngoc and Huy, offered to help the young unemployed women procure jobs at Chinese restaurants, hotels and karaoke parlors, luring them with promises of high salaries.

When the victims agreed, Hieu took them to Quang Ninh's Mong Cai Town across the border from China's Guangxi Province, receiving payment for them from Sen, Nam and some other unidentified people. Payments ranged from VND8-15 million (US$384-720) for each depending on their appearance.

Hieu has confessed to police to selling 11 young women, aged 14-20, from Can Tho, Dong Nai, Kien Giang, Long An, Tay Ninh Provinces and Ho Chi Minh City to Nam's gang since 2010. The gang then brought them to Chinese brothels.

According to him, the women had to work from morning until night every day and were severely controlled by guards.

But some of them managed to escape and file complaints with the Can Tho police, according to Tuoi Tre.

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