Vietnamese women trafficked to Singapore for prostitution

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Women from rural Vietnam are being tricked and forced into prostitution in Singapore by a Vietnamese human trafficking gang, says one woman who managed to escape by paying off her "debt."

Thirty-five-year -old Tran Thi My Linh from the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh told her story to Thanh Nien on Wednesday (December 14).

Early this month, Linh met a woman named Ngoc who told her she had an acquaintance in Singapore who was looking for an assistant cook. Ngoc persuaded Linh to take up the job for a monthly salary of SGD1,700 (US$1,300), with accommodation and airfare provided.

Bui Van Biet, Linh's husband, called their neighbor a woman named Tuyet who had also been sent to Singapore 10 days earlier for a similar job, and he was told that things had gone smoothly.

After Linh got her husband's permission, she went to Ho Chi Minh City to catch a flight to Singapore on December 10. She met a man named Manh at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport who gave her an air ticket and SGD800 ($611) in cash.

On arrival in Singapore, a woman named Yen picked her up and took her to an apartment building. Then she took Linh's passport and SGD800. Yen told Linh that she owed her SGD200 as "interest" for the money Linh had borrowed from Manh.

Linh saw that there were a dozen or so women, also Tra Vinh natives, in the apartment. The women had been enticed into going to Singapore for various jobs.

On the evening of December 11, Yen took Linh to a street where a lot of Vietnamese women were working as prostitutes. Linh saw Tuyet, her neighbor, who said she had to do it to repay her debt to the gang.

Linh told Yen she would pay "compensation" for her release. Linh called her husband and asked him to give SGD1,000 ($763) to Manh in HCMC.

The following day, Yen returned the passport to Linh and brought her to the airport for her flight back home.

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