Vietnam police arrest seven in women-trafficking gang
Further probe will be conducted into a human trafficking ring that has reportedly snared at least 100 women and sold them to men in several Asian countries and territory over the last three-years, police said Monday.
The women are being smuggled to meet demand in countries where the gender imbalance has tilted heavily in favour of men, experts say.
The central police, coordinating with their counterparts in HCM City and neighbouring Tay Ninh Province, last Friday caught three people, Do Bao Thuan, Tran Vi Hung, and Nguyen Thien Ngon attempting to smuggle three women into Malaysia at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City.
Grilled by investigators, the arrested trio snitched on their accomplices, leading to the arrest of ringleader Nguyen Thi Ngoc Yen, Nguyen Thi Khuan, Nguyen Thi Phi, and Nguyen The Phong.
The police found seven girls in Yen’s house awaiting their turn to go abroad.
They had also searched the house of Nguyen Thi Khuan, one of Yen’s henchwomen, and seized many passports and documents proving the ring had smuggled many Vietnamese women abroad since 2006.
Khuan told the police since the beginning of this year, she had procured around 30 girls for Yen.
Initial investigations revealed that when Yen’s daughter married a Malaysian man in 2006, Yen received to know a Chinese woman, identified only as Lee, who promised to pay Yen US$1,000 for each Vietnamese girl she sold to Malaysia.
Yen then connived with her accomplices in southern provinces like Tay Ninh, Long An, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, or Can Tho City to find young girls, aged 18 to 25, and lure them into leaving for foreign countries with promises of jobs or marriages to wealthy men. Yen said she had paid the go-betweens dong 2 million for each young girl they were able to get.
The cheated girls were then brought to a house in HCM City’s District 5 before being trafficked abroad to sell to foreign men.
During questioning, Yen also confessed that since 2006, she had sold at least 100 women into marriages in South Korea, Malaysia, or Taiwan, raking in profits totalling around US$70,000.
The seven persons are being kept in custody pending further investigation, the police said Monday. But they did not reveal what action they would take against the Chinese national Lee.
The trafficking of women has been a headache for Vietnamese police for years.
Last week, Chinese police rescued 18 Vietnamese women who had been kidnapped and sold into marriages in southeast China for as little as US$2,900 each, the AFP reports.
The women were rescued from remote villages in Fujian Province since June when police apprehended the suspected ringleader of the kidnapping gang, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The women had been working in China's Guangxi region that borders Vietnam and were lured to Fujian with the promise of better jobs. After they were kidnapped, the ring leader, surnamed Zhang, sold them to farmers in remote Yunxiao County for between US$2,900-4,400 each.
The parents of some of the women helped the police track the girls with the assistance of Vietnamese diplomats based in China.
According to police in China’s Fujian Province, four other kidnappers suspected of having links to the case have also been arrested.
Speaking with the rescued women at the airport and at Yen’s house, Thanh Nien learnt that they had hired Yen’s service hoping to improve their living standards through marriages with wealthy foreign husbands.
It was not until the police told them they could be forced into brothels abroad to work as commercial sex workers that the girls realised the dangers they faced in entering into such ventures.
They told the police upon their arrival at Yen’s house that her accomplices had taken away all their personal documents and belongings and detained them in a small room in a bid to foil detection by neighbours.
All the girls have been handed over to Tay Ninh Province’s Department of Labour, War Invalids, and Social Affairs so that concerned agencies can help them reunite with their families or seek employment, said Lieutenant-Colonel Nguyen Hong Sang, a senior police official.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Women’s Unions have warned of a "bachelor bomb" in rural areas akin to what has happened in rural Taiwan or South Korea.
It is this "bomb" that has created the demand for women in these countries that illegal trafficking rings are seeking to exploit by luring gullible Vietnamese women from rural areas, in turn creating a similar problem in Vietnam.
Thanh Nien News - December 5, 2008