Vietnam couple arrested on suspicion of trafficking children

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Police in the central province of Quang Ngai have arrested a married couple for illegally recruiting local children to work in Ho Chi Minh City, VnExpress reported Friday.

Le Van Tien, 35, and his wife, 32-year-old Tran Thi Thu Thanh, were caught transporting three children between the ages of 14 and 18 years old in a car on Thursday, according to the newswire.

The children said Tien had taken them to HCMC to work at a restaurant. But the suspect failed to present a legal labor contract with their families, said Vo Van Duong, chief of Ba To District's police division.

In fact, the children's families had no idea about the recruitment, Duong said.

Tien, who hails from HCMC, later told police that he joined hands with Pham Van Tha, a Quang Ngai local who used to work for his family, to seek out laborers.

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Tha then convinced the children to quit school for working.

The case is being investigated further.

Since schools resumed after Tet (Vietnam's Lunar New Year) on January 30, only 30-40 percent of students in Ba To District have returned back to school, VnExpress quoted the district's education department as saying. Hundreds of students have quit studying mainly to work in the southern region, according to local authorities.

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