U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Vietnam

Vietnam (Tier 2)

Vietnam is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic for commercial sexual exploitation. A large percentage of the Vietnamese women who are trafficked to Taiwan are lured by fraudulent offers of employment or marriage to Taiwanese men. Labor export companies recruit and send workers abroad. Although there were no confirmed reports during the rating period, some of these laborers were victims of abuses that constitute "involuntary servitude," a severe form of trafficking. To a lesser extent, Vietnam is a destination country for Cambodian children who are trafficked for forced work as beggars. There is also internal trafficking from rural to urban areas.

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. In July 2004, the government issued a national action plan to combat trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as a five-year national program for addressing all aspects of Vietnam's anti-trafficking efforts including prevention, prosecution, and protection. In addition to implementing strategies to address trafficking for sexual exploitation, the government took steps to provide greater protection for Vietnamese workers sent abroad by labor export companies. It continued to engage neighboring governments to combat trafficking and cooperated on the repatriation of victims and other cross-border issues.


In 2004, the government continued its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, actively investigating trafficking cases, and prosecuting and convicting traffickers. Vietnam has a statute that prohibits commercial sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and children with penalties ranging up to 20 years' imprisonment. Trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation is covered under Vietnam's Penal Code. Over the past year, the government's crime statistics office reported 142 prosecutions and 110 convictions specifically related to trafficking in women and children. While some local government officials reportedly profited from trafficking, there were no reported prosecutions of officials for complicity in trafficking. The government does not effectively control its long and porous borders.


The Vietnamese Government improved its efforts to provide protection to victims during the reporting period by strengthening protections for Vietnamese workers sent abroad by labor export companies. It stationed labor attaches in the nine top labor export receiving countries to look after the welfare of workers and to assist in resolving workplace disputes. The government also increased its oversight of labor export companies, and imposed penalties and sanctions against companies that violated labor laws or regulations. Vietnam's revised labor code has provisions that allow workers to negotiate settlements from labor export companies in cases of fraud or abuse, although precise statistics on these actions were not provided. Trafficking victims in Vietnam are usually not detained, arrested or otherwise punished. However, the government routinely sends women who engage in prostitution within the country to "rehabilitation" detention centers that provide medical treatment, vocational training, and counseling, and seek to deter the women's return to prostitution. The government's rehabilitation efforts lack adequate financial resources and usually take place at the provincial and local levels.


While the Vietnamese Government did not implement specific anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2004, it raised the issue of trafficking in combination with other information and education programs. In 2004, it cooperated with the Chinese Government and UNICEF on a mass communications effort to educate the public and local government leaders on trafficking. The yearlong campaign included workshops on local laws regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children and training on how to counsel trafficking victims.


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