Last Updated: Wednesday, 02 September 2015, 13:52 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Vietnam

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Vietnam, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 2 September 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Vietnam (Tier 2)

Vietnam is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, destination country for persons trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for sexual exploitation and forced marriages. Victims from China transit Vietnam on trafficking routes to Australia, Europe and North America. Cambodian children are trafficked into Vietnam to beg in urban areas. Vietnamese rural laborers are exploited by traffickers. Labor export companies recruit and send workers abroad; some of these laborers have been known to suffer trafficking abuses.

The Government of Vietnam does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Particular concern remains, however, about the government's effectiveness in addressing cases of labor exploitation. Vietnamese state-owned labor companies have entered into international contracts that have resulted in incidents of labor trafficking. The government needs to protect workers through better oversight measures in these companies, which it regulates. Vietnam's efforts to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation could be enhanced by cooperating with Cambodia to address cross-border issues, including how to repatriate and care for victims.


The government partners with multiple international organizations on anti-trafficking studies and surveys, and there is limited prevention measures in at-risk communities through leaflets and community trainers. The government-controlled Vietnam Women's Union sponsored a mass media campaign using television and newspapers. In other measures not specific to trafficking, the government is providing limited funds for development projects to increase compulsory education to nine years, and vocational and micro-credit programs for at-risk women and youth.


An inter-ministerial working group, chaired by the deputy prime minister, coordinates anti-sex trafficking activities, but clarification of responsibility at the agency level is needed to focus government action. Vietnam has a statute that prohibits sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and children. The government investigates, arrests, and convicts sex traffickers; however, it does not make comprehensive statistics on arrests and convictions available, so these efforts cannot be fully evaluated. General statistics on trafficking in persons are not kept, but a much-needed proposed project would create a data collection system within a new crime statistics office. The government has taken part in bilateral police cooperation to combat trafficking, sending officials to Cambodia and China for better information sharing. The government is also addressing corruption. High-profile efforts include bringing four trafficking cases to trial against local government officials in 2002, and one high-profile 2003 case, in which over 150 persons, including ex-ministerial and law enforcement officials, were indicted for prostitution and migrant smuggling.


The government should take additional steps to ensure that victims are not abused. Many women found engaged in prostitution are not jailed or given criminal records, but placed in one of over 40 rehabilitation centers. These centers reportedly provide medical treatment, vocational training, and counseling in efforts to deter the victims' return to prostitution. However, Vietnam's efforts in rehabilitating some victims can be controversial. The centers have been criticized for conducting "reeducation" and limiting victims' freedom of movement.

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