Northwest Vietnam is one of the poorest area, most isolated and most ethnically diverse provinces in Vietnam, is a prime spot for traffickers.
Due to geographical location, near the Chinese border, the situation of human trafficking is complicated; and because the level of awareness of people is limited, women are easily seduced and sold across the border. According to the Bien Phong newspaper on October 17, 2018, "From the beginning of 2018 up to now, Lao Cai border guards rescued 76 trafficking victims."
Most people in this area has very limited knowledge about trafficking, so they are easier to be tempted and then be sold across borders.
As the case of Mrs. Phung Thi Say in Lao Cai, who has a daughter and three daughters-in-law were sold. The number of victims continues increasing every year and there is no sign of decline. Therefore, on November 26th -30th, 2018, we - representative of Caritas Vietnam gave lessons on Anti-human Trafficking to the villagers: Co Hay, Song Ma, Son La, Nam Chu and Nacosa in Muong Nhe, Dien Bien.
In addition, on December 02nd, 2018, the team shared the information about trafficking prevention with more than 500 young people from different villages in this area. All of them, including children, young men and women and their parents were listening attentively to the media in which was translated into H’Mong language. As they have unhappy experiences when witnessed their relatives or their neighbors who were sold across the border, they now received the leaflets and read carefully the information of trafficking prevention.
We passed over 1,500 kilometers to reach and share the meaningful information with highland people. This was the long path but we felt happy to help people here. We wish them peace and happy in their lives. We will also update information to help them protecting themselves and their villagers.
Caritas Vietnam’s Anti-Trafficking program organized a three-day training on Communication Skill to 15 staffs and volunteers of Caritas from the three dioceses in the Mekong delta. The purpose of the training is to build capacity of all participants on communication skills so that they can make use of their knowledge and experience to implement in the anti-trafficking program.
The training is essential to all participants because they are key urgent and messengers to share information, knowledge about human trafficking to various communities. Communication skill supports their daily work with the people, the youth and their families who are at risk and lack of appropriate information.
A variety of topics are being brought into discussion including communication, public speaking, problem solving, creativity in presentations and teamwork. Participants gained knowledge and broader understanding on the topics through presentation, case study, group discussion and exercise. The training course ended with the good feelings from participants. They feel more energized, motivated and confident to be part of the project towards fighting against trafficking in person.
Caritas Vietnam is thankful to Fr. Joseph, who is trainer and all participants for giving their time for the benefit of the community in preventing trafficking. “We hope that our contributions will be fruitful”.
Some activities during the training
As an annual event, the World Day against Trafficking in Person is held on 30th July. To commemorate the day, Caritas Vietnam in collaboration with the dioceses conducted 9 community awareness meetings and workshop to raise awareness and gain support for prevention and combating human trafficking. The series of event was conducted from 15th-30th July 2018.
A total of 2,972 people and 20 volunteers from Caritas Vinh Long, Long Xuyen and Hai Phong took part in the events. The participants are the youth and children from the church, teachers, volunteers and people from local parishes.
With the knowledge shared, hoping that the audiences know how to protect themselves and their communities from the challenges of trafficking in person nowadays.
TTL married and have 2 sons. She lives in Can Tho that is one of 13 provinces of Mekong delta. Because of wanting to build a small house for her family so that she would not have to live with her mother, L borrowed a neighbor's money to cover the house that was under construction. In addition, the family needed a motorbike to go for work, so L took the government loan to buy a motor bike. Monthly L must pay to the company 2.816.000 VND (125USD) and must pay during 24 months.
With these debts, L decided to evade family under the guidance of her neighbor to Malaysia to work. L worked in a bird nest production company. Working hours are from 8am to 10pm (14 hours). After the first month, the owner deducted the airfare and food costs so the salary of L 160 RM (40 USD). At the start of the second month, the police unexpectedly checked and arrested all workers at the company due to illegal residence and work without a working visa. At that time, L realized that L's Passport was lost without knowing why. L went to the government shelter to wait for the court and return to Vietnam.
Depending on the severity of the case, each victim stays in the shelter for 3 months to 8 months. Victims must testify that they are labor-exploitation and overworked for the court to convict of the employer. But the vast majority of victims do not know that work overtime and no work visa is illegal. In case of L, she also lost the passport should be in the long-term waiting for the Immigration Department of Vietnam issued temporary passport. Besides, L also has no money to buy air tickets back to Vietnam.
At her hometown, L's mother was in her 80's and could not sleep since she knows L is in Malaysia’s shelter. The neighboring family leads L to Malaysia tell L's mother to beg them and give them 15 million (660 USD) for helping L return. The mother can borrow only 4 million VND (200 USD) to give to the family. After one month, two months, three months did not see L come back so L's mother went to police and reported all the things. She said to police whether my daughter is sold. Police ask that family report the incident and return the money to L.'s mother. But the police cannot help more than that.
Knowing of this case through the net-work, Caritas Vietnam talked to Malaysia side through Skype and assisted with L repatriation. Caritas Vietnam’ staff sends L back her home with her family and will accompany L in the next steps if L needs any support.
“Human trafficking is important for every one of us to know. We all should be keeping attention to the problem as it arises and affect our lives and communities ”, Fr. Chatsirey, the parish priest of Phsar Touch in Phnom Penh addressed at his opening remark during the cross-border awareness raising session on safe migration and human trafficking. A cross-border event being held in a church in Cambodia was jointly organized by the anti-human trafficking and migration desk of Caritas Cambodia and Caritas Vietnam on the morning of Sunday, 26th November 2017.
As of their cross-border planning on trafficking, the session was made to build awareness by providing information focused on the prevention of unsafe migration and human trafficking to vulnerable group, so that they can make informed decision to migrate. The target groups are the youth and parents from the Vietnamese family’s background living in Cambodia.
Approximately, 80 people participated in the session. Happily, they expressed delight and emphasized the importance of the event. One participant said the session was useful for her and she learnt a lot from the session, especially on key points she has never thought about and discussed before. “For me, it is not new topic but it is for the first time, I participate the session at the church”, she added. Many participants stressed that they will share the knowledge from the session to their relatives and friends.
The sessions were led by Sr. Jacinta, from Caritas Vietnam and Ms. Sopheak Tek, Caritas Cambodia with the focus on pre-departure orientation, the prevention measures, and the impact of trafficking and unsafe migration. Besides explaining and giving information, the key message focuses on highlighting the key role of every individual to understand, to engage, to prevent and combat human trafficking.
In overall, it was an informative session with questions and answers. The event was concluded with a ‘thankful note’ to the parish priests, sisters and representative from the parish council and as to all participants for their wonderful support and active participation to make the session possible. To close the session, flyers on trafficking were handed to participants and each of them blew up an orange balloon and presented the sign of “Stop Human Trafficking” and “Stop Violence”.
The awareness raising session is part of planning activities of Caritas’s Greater Mekong Sub- Region Taskforce on Trafficking, with the goal to build awareness on the danger and impact of trafficking and migration, targeting the potential migrants and populations with low level of education including women and children and vulnerable groups. Caritas Vietnam and Caritas Cambodia emphasized its shared commitment to continue building education awareness, believing this will benefit to the reduced of trafficking and increased safe migration.