A court in southern Vietnam on Wednesday handed down sentences of up to seven years in prison to four people for trafficking women to China.
Pham Truong An, 30, was imposed the longest jail term by People's Court of Tay Ninh Province for organizing a ring that had sold six Vietnamese women to Chinese men looking for a bride between last October and this March.
An and her husband, a Chinese national, charged buyers between VND90 million and VND120 million (US$4,350-5,670) for each Vietnamese woman they provided, according to the indictment.
They hired Nguyen Trung Hieu, 30, Nguyen Van Quan, 30, and Nguyen Hoang Son, 21, to look for women who wanted to marry foreigners. The trio were paid VND2-20 million ($100-1,000) for each candidate.
The Tay Ninh court sentenced Hieu to three and a half years in prison while Quan and Son got three years each.
According to the indictment, the victims were promised a good life in China, and each was given VND20-30 million and some jewelries.
But once they came to China, An seized their personal documents and forced them to marry poor or sick men living in mountainous areas.
The ring was busted on March 12, 2014 when Tay Ninh police officers arrested An and Hieu at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, when they were taking three more women to China.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, police have identified more than 5,800 victims of human trafficking since 2008. Most of them were sold to China, it said.
The crime has persisted this year, with many traffickers targeting poor and ethnic women.
In late 2013, Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Sun Xiaoying, a researcher with the Research Institute of Southeast Asia at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that China’s gender imbalance had led to a surge in demand for Vietnamese wives.
China had 697.2 million males and 663.4 million females in 2013, according to statistics published by China’s National Bureau of Statistic in January this year.