Drastic measures called for in crack down on human trafficking

Friday, 2017-07-28 09:30:14
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Border guards of Lai Chau province escort two human traffickers (Photo: VNA)
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NDO - Human trafficking is a complicated situation, not only causing harm to ethics, race, lifestyle, habits, customs and laws, but also directly affects the security and order of the country, as well as being of great concern for society as a whole.

From the beginning of 2011 until June this year, there have been 2,748 human trafficking cases involving 4,110 traffickers and 5,984 victims, of which 447 cases were for the purpose of marriage accounting for 27% of the total number of human trafficking cases with 1,140 victims. The crimes occurred in all provinces and cities across the country. The victims are not only women and children, but also men and new-borns, and the phenomenon of surrogacy. More than 80% of the victims were trafficked abroad, mainly through the border gates between Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos, and China.

Criminals are mainly scapegoats with criminal records and charges against them for trafficking. They work in combination to entice, hook, cheat, and coerce victims in order to traffic them abroad. In addition, there are also foreigners visiting Vietnam in the form of tourism and business activities, but are then linking with the Vietnamese brokers to form transnational human trafficking rings.

Notably, in recent times, by taking advantage of favourable policies on immigration procedures, issuance of citizens' passports and cross border travel passes, many traffickers have organised rings for human trafficking abroad, in the form of tourism, visiting relatives, and illegal labour. Victims are usually not provided with residency procedures or the necessary papers and are forced into illegal marriages, illegal labour and sexual abuse. Victims are often women of marriageable age, living in rural areas under difficult economic circumstances, unemployed and with a limited knowledge of social and life skills.

In order to prevent, and step by step repel, the crime of human trafficking, especially through marriage involving foreign elements, the Party, State, National Assembly, Government and the relevant ministries and agencies have paid great attention and issued many instructional documents.

It is noteworthy that the country has ratified the United Nations’ Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, as well as having taken part in the ASEAN action plan and convention on human trafficking prevention. The National Assembly also adopted the Law on Prevention and Fighting against Human Trafficking in 2011. The Law, among other things, expands the definition of human trafficking and provides for the different measures and obligations of the State, organisations and individuals.

The Government’s National Action Plan against Trafficking in Person, for the period 2011-2015, is aimed at protecting all Vietnamese citizens and foreigners living in Vietnam from human trafficking and deals with events in Vietnam and across the Vietnamese border, in cooperation with other countries and international organisations. The Plan consists of five major projects on information and awareness-raising campaigns, capacity building for multidisciplinary teams, victim protection and assistance, strengthening the legal system and monitoring the implementation of laws and policies, whilst strengthening international cooperation in combating human trafficking.

Vietnam also actively participates in many regional and international initiatives and processes on migration, in general, and on the prevention of illegal migration and human trafficking in particular, such as the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Consultation Process on Refugees, Displaced Persons and Migrants, Asia – EU Dialogue on Labor Migration, the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT), the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation Forum on Legal Cooperation to Combat Human Trafficking.

The Ministry of Justice promulgates circulars guiding the implementation of the initiatives, in order to rectify marriage involving foreign elements. Particularly, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice, the People's Procuracy and the People’s Supreme Court issued Joint Circular No.01/2013/TTLT (on July 23, 2013) on guiding the investigation of penal liability for those who commit acts of human trafficking; buying, selling, exchanging, and appropriating children.

However, a number of departments, sectors and organisation have not paid enough attention, as well as not fully developing their responsibilities, in attracting a large number of participants in the prevention and fight against human trafficking. Activities in many places remain formal and lack specific plans, measures, guidance and inspection. The situation concerning human trafficking and illegal marriage brokerage has become increasingly complex and tends to be internationalised.

In order to repel the crime, the functional agencies and localities should actively consult the party committees and administrations, across all levels, to thoroughly organise the plan to effectively implement the guidelines and instructional documents related to the prevention and combating of crimes of human trafficking. Communications campaigns to raise public awareness of human trafficking, through marriage involving foreign elements, should also be enhanced.

The Ministry of Justice continues to coordinate with the relevant ministries and sectors to review, supplement and complete the necessary regulations, so as to ensure the practicality and uniformity in the system of legal documents; whilst at the same time, proposing that the Government negotiates, signs and implements judicial assistance treaties between Vietnam and other countries and territories, especially those with a lot of Vietnamese brides, in order to protect their legitimate rights in marriage relations involving foreign elements.

The Ministry of Public Security should step up their coordination with the Border Guards to concentrate on basic investigation, to firmly grasp the situation, and clarify the human trafficking network, especially through marriage involving foreign elements. It should also coordinate with the People’s Procuracies and the People’s Courts in accelerating the investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal cases, in a timely and strict manner according to the law. In addition, it is necessary to resolutely eradicate disguised marriage centres which involve illegal acts. It is also essential to strengthen international cooperation with other countries and international organisations in the exchange of information and cooperation in the fight against human trafficking, rescue and the repatriation of victims.