Hanoi: Caritas holds workshop against human trafficking
Hundreds of girls are trafficked every year in China. The main victims are teenage girls from ethnic minorities living along the border. The seminar to raise awareness was held throughout the month of May.
Hanoi (Asianews) - Caritas of the Lạng Sơn diocese organised a seminar against human trafficking to inform the population and prevent the exploitation of young Vietnamese teenage girls living in ethnic villages along the border with China.
There are hundreds of cases of girls being trafficked across the northern border, which runs for 1,350 kilometres: since 2021, authorities in Hà Giang province have investigated 110 cases of human trafficking and arrested at least 144 people. Taking advantage of the rugged terrain, criminals traffic teenagers who are sometimes under 16 years old with illegal immigration documents.
The Caritas workshop was held in the parish of Bó Tờ, which is about 70 kilometres from the city of Cao Bằng, itself 5 kilometres from the border with China. Throughout the month of May, every Thursday and Sunday, information meetings were also held for the non-Catholic community.
"Along the border live many Hmong, Dao and Tày people who often have economic difficulties and health problems," Caritas social workers told AsiaNews. "In addition, young women from ethnic minorities often experience unequal treatment within their families. In many cases parents do not have the money to send their children to school, so teenagers are forced to do heavy work."
Girls without jobs who have to support their families are the first to be lured by traffickers: middlemen promise parents that if they let their daughter go with them to China, she will send money home every month. In reality, the young girls are then exploited in illegal or dangerous work or sexually abused. After a short period of three to six months they are handed over to another person and transferred to another 'shop', some victims told AsiaNews.
Among the most recent cases, on 11 January this year, the border guard station in Bạch Đích received a complaint from a girl, born in 2005, of Dao ethnicity. Phan Thi H., originally from Phú Lũng commune, Yên Minh district, had filed a complaint against two other young people, a man and a woman of Mong and Hmong ethnicity who were about her age. They had been trying to take her to China under false pretences since 2019.