Illegal marriage brokerage raided in Vietnam

Police in Vietnam say they have raided an illegal marriage brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City, in the latest in a series of such actions.

They say 11 South Korean men were caught selecting potential brides from among 112 young women from the Mekong delta region.

Four Vietnamese marriage brokers are said to have been taken in for questioning.

Local media reports say the women had been taught Korean and cooking before being paraded before the Korean men, who had to pay up to $US10,000 if the introductions led to marriage.

Illegal marriage brokerage raided in Vietnam

Vietnam police arrest two over baby trafficking to China

12 May 2008

HANOI (AFP) — Police in Vietnam have arrested two women for involvement in baby trafficking into China and rescued a 10-day-old boy, state media said on Monday.

Hoang Thi Hien, 36, and Truong Thi Loat, 42, were detained last Sunday as they tried to cross the border into China with the child, said the police-run Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper.

They told police they received 1,000 yuan (143 dollars) to buy the baby for adoption by a Chinese woman, the paper said, adding the child was taken to a social welfare centre.

The arrests came after police here detained six Vietnamese who tried to take two newborn baby boys across the border into China for adoption last Monday.

Vietnamese police busted a trafficking syndicate in February, which sold babies to China for adoption, reportedly charging about 500 dollars each for girls and 1,000 dollars for boys.

The US embassy in Hanoi last month issued a damning report about widespread baby selling and rampant corruption in Vietnam’s adoption system, which led authorities here to cancel a bilateral adoption agreement.

AFP: Vietnam police arrest two over baby trafficking to China

Vietnam gang ‘smuggled 30 babies’

A baby-trafficking ring in Vietnam sold as many as 30 infants in just six months, smuggling them over the border into China, investigators have found.

Police in Hanoi arrested four suspects in February while they were trying to take two babies out of the country.

Since then, the authorities have detained seven more and the hunt for others connected to the gang continues.

Among those detained was an eight-month pregnant woman who had agreed to sell her unborn baby.

Detectives in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi said in a six-month period from July 2007 to February 2008, the ring had smuggled up to 30 babies, mostly newborn, to China.

But the total of smuggled children might be much higher as the gang had been active before that, officials said.

The district police said the scale of the ring’s activities was so large that they had to transfer the case to central police to follow up.

It is believed that the smugglers had been scouring for babies and pregnant women from poor families in rural areas across the country.

They paid between 7m dong ($440; £220) and 20m dong for each baby – boys usually costing more than girls.

The babies were then transferred to Quang Ninh province on China border and offered for adoption.

Police in Vietnam arrest three for smuggling babies

Hanoi – Police in Vietnam have arrested three people accused of smuggling newborn babies, a policeman said Monday. Hoang Duc Hien, 60, Thuan Thi Hoa, 47, and Nguyen Thi Thinh, 42, were arrested Sunday as they were trying to bring three babies across the border to China, according to Hoang Quoc Dinh, director of Hoan Kiem Police Station in Hanoi. Earlier, the three had bought a one-week-old baby from a woman in northern Ha Tay province for 3 million dong (187 dollars) and another baby from a woman in the southern province of Bac Lieu province for 8 million dong (500 dollars), according to the Vietnam News Agency. The newspaper also said that the three were taking with them another baby when they were arrested. “Further investigation is underway and we cannot say anything more about the case now,” said Hoang Quoc Dinh, director of the police station of Hoan Kiem district in Hanoi. “The children smuggling situation in Vietnam is now very complicated,” said Nguyen Dinh Thiet, head of the Children Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. Thiet said most of the smuggled Vietnamese children are taken to China, Cambodia and even to Britain.

Chinese police detain two suspects over trafficking Vietnamese babies

NANNING, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Chinese police have detained a Vietnamese woman and a Chinese man who allegedly smuggled four babies from Vietnam into China, local police said Thursday.

The woman was caught holding two babies in arms on the China-Vietnam border in Dongxing City of southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Tuesday night, when she illegally entered Chinese territory across a river. The woman seemed not to be the mother judging from her appearance, a spokesman with the Dongxing police said.

Police questioned the 53-year-old woman surnamed Pham from Mong Cai City of northeast Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Province, and she confessed that she had planned to sell the two babies aged below two months to a man surnamed Ruan from south China’s Guangdong Province, the spokesman said.

Pham also confessed that she has smuggled four babies on three separate occasions into China this month.

Ruan was later captured in a makeshift shed in Dongxing, which neighbors Mong Cai.

The two babies are now being attended by the Dongxing Municipa lObstetric and Gynaecology Hospital, the spokesman said.

The case is being further investigated, he added.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Vietnam’s overseas workers trapped in ‘no-rights zone’

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam sends tens of thousands of workers a year to Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and elsewhere, but unscrupulous operators trap many of them in conditions akin to slavery, experts say.

Countless Vietnamese women have been trafficked abroad for prostitution, but even more “guest workers” have found themselves in an equally mundane kind of hell — exploited, abused and bankrupted.

“It’s like indentured labour because of the debt that the workers have to take on,” said Professor Daniele Belanger, director of the Population Studies Centre at the University of Western Ontario.

Overseas workers typically pay large fees and hand their passports to their new bosses, said Belanger, whose research team has interviewed Vietnamese migrant workers in Taiwan and South Korea, as well as dozens of returnees.

The contracts effectively trap workers in a “no-rights zone,” and many end up only increasing their debt, Belanger said, as recruiters add extra costs including medical and criminal background checks, training courses, living expenses and taxes.

“The workers at least have to pay the debt back and a lot of them don’t even manage to do that because the fees and interest rates are very high,” she said.

Most labourers effectively work for free for the first year, she said.

In one typical case, reported recently by Vietnamese state media, a man from Danang, central Vietnam said last year that he was cheated after signing a three-year contract to work as a painter in Malaysia.

Belanger said her study, funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, found that only some labourers brought money home from Taiwan, the top sum being 7,000 dollars in three years.

“Some of the migrants we interviewed had been victims of trafficking and had dealt with what they called ‘faked agencies’ that they could no longer trace after having returned,” Belanger wrote in a recent paper.

Many Vietnamese are lured into overseas job contracts — usually as factory, construction or domestic workers — by unscrupulous operators.

“There are middlemen, each taking some money,” said Andrew Bruce, Vietnam chief of the International Organisation for Migration. “Someone will introduce you to someone who’ll introduce you to someone, and finally you get to the end of the line and you’ve got that great job.”

But all too often, people fall victim to fraud, he said.

“They end up on a plane with a tourist visa and they arrive in another country and there is no one there to meet them and there is no job there at all.”

Others have to borrow large sums, often using their family land as collateral, only to discover later that they earn too little to repay the loans, with shortfalls of hundreds of dollars per year, Bruce said.

Workers are often tied to one employer, leaving them trapped, he said.

Some of the worst abuses have taken place on the open seas, as Vietnamese fishermen have been recruited to work on Taiwanese fishing fleets in conditions Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre (Young People) newspaper likened to “slave galleys,” working 18 hours for four hours’ rest.

Labour exports aim to keep down unemployment in Vietnam, where an estimated 1.2 million people enter the job market each year, and earn cash to feed Vietnam’s fast growing economy.

Last year 400,000 Vietnamese working in more than 40 countries earned an estimated 1.6 billion dollars.

Vietnam has set a target of sending 80,000 workers abroad this year, and 100,000 annually by 2010, says the Department of Management of Overseas Labourers under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The top destinations now are Malaysia, which took nearly half of all workers last year, followed by Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, with the Middle East a fast-growing market.

Remittances have been key earners for other Asian countries such as the Philippines, which has sent nearly 10 percent of its population abroad.

But Vietnam, as a relative newcomer to the inter-Asian migrant labour industry, has not yet set up systems to protect all its overseas workers.

Some experts say Vietnam needs to clean up the system if it wants to send more guest workers to the United States, the European Union and Australia.

“This whole situation negatively impacts on the country?s efforts to penetrate new markets in the industrialized countries,” said Bruce.