Police in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai said Thursday that they have taken a woman into custody for three months for allegedly trafficking 19 women to Malaysia to work as prostitutes.
They also said they have identified at least three people involved with the gang led by Le Thi Anh Tuyet, 28, though it is not known if they have been taken in yet.
Early last year Tuyet flew to Malaysia and allegedly approached restaurants, hotels, and massage parlors, offering to supply Vietnamese women for prostitution.
Later, in June, she returned to Vietnam and recruited women at cafés and restaurants, offering them jobs in Malaysia for a monthly salary of US$1,000-2,500.
Between January and May this year she sent 19 of them to Malaysia, where they were forced into sex work, the police said.
Before departing, the women were forced to sign IOUs to her for VND20-25 million ($951-1,189) at high interest rates, they said, adding she later made them work until the money was fully paid.
She is estimated to have earned $21,000 before three women hailing from Dong Nai escaped and informed Malaysian authorities about their plight.
After being informed by Malaysian agencies and Interpol, the Dong Nai police arrested Tuyet.
The case is being investigated, while efforts to rescue the other victims are under way.
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