A court in southern Vietnam gave six people jail terms on Friday after finding them guilty of trafficking 14 local women into China to marry paying bachelors.
Pham Thanh Xuan, 50, received eight years in prison.
Her accomplices Vo Thi Kim Trinh received seven years, Chung Ngoc Nghiep four years, Vo Thi Gai and Nguyen Bich Lanh three years each, and Le Thi Nao three years suspended sentence.
The defendants were all residents of Tay Ninh Province, which borders Cambodia. Their operation was busted on February 17.
Investigators from Tay Ninh caught Xuan preparing to put two victims on a flight from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Hanoi.
From Hanoi, the victims were supposed to be driven to China.
According to the indictment, Trinh, 38, went to China in June of 2013 to look for a husband herself.
But her purpose changed after she met Tien, a human trafficker.
Trinh returned to Vietnam to find women who wanted to marry Chinese men.
She and her accomplices provided the candidates to Thuy, Tien’s connection in Vietnam.
The women’s families were paid VND20-40 million (US$936-1,872), depending on their ages.
Trinh received VND5 million for brokering each deal.
The court found that Trinh and her accomplices had successfully smuggled 14 Vietnamese women to China in July of 2013.
Tien and Thuy remain at large. The defendants provided little information about their whereabouts.
In 2013 China's Xinhua News Agency quoted Sun Xiaoying, at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that China’s gender imbalance had sparked a surge in demand for Vietnamese wives.
China reported having 697.2 million males and 663.4 million females in 2013, according to statistics published by the National Bureau of Statistic last January.
Human traffickers lure Vietnamese women from poor and rural areas to fill in the gap, promising them a better life in a foreign land.
They never tell the victims their husbands are old, weak and poor.
Few never hear about their impending marriage, but are instead promised well-paying jobs.