Prosecutors in the southern province of Ca Mau on Thursday said they are reviewing the decision of a local court which chose to hand down a three-year suspended sentence to a businessman after finding him guilty of having sex with a minor.
Local media cited several prosecutors and lawyers as saying that the punishment was "too lenient," considering that such a crime often led to a prison term of between seven and 15 years.
A court last month gave both Tieu Van Luan, the 57-year-old owner of a large hotel in Ca Mau, and Lam Thi Chau, who brokered the illegal sex service, the same suspended sentence of three years.
The panel of judges reportedly cited good family background among factors for the short sentences for both defendants.
Prosecutors said Luan paid VND500,000 (US$23) to have sex with a 15-year-old girl at least twice in late May and early June last year.
Chau, 39, the owner of a restaurant where the girl worked as a waitress, reportedly brokered the illegal service.
The two were arrested in June after the girl's family reported that Chau had kept their daughter against her will.
Investigators said the girl began to work at Chau’s restaurant in May.
But Chau forced her to do sex work and collected half of the money. The woman claimed that the girl owed her VND7 million and needed to work to pay off the debt.
Sex work is illegal in Vietnam. Having sex with a child between 13 and 16 years old is a serious crime punishable by up to 15 years. Procuring sex with those in that age range may also lead to a 15-year jail term.