Human trafficking victims (R) are sent to a support centre in Lao Cai (Photo: VNA)

Lao Cai (VNA) – Assistance to human trafficking victims in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai remains unproductive though a concerted effort has been made.

From 2011 to the end of June 2015, Lao Cai, which shares a 203km borderline with China, received 393 human trafficking victims back, including 74 children. About 76 percent of the victims are ethnic minority people.

Up to 255 of the victims were given medical check-ups and treatment while 151 others were provided with legal assistance. Forty-five victims received vocational training and 40 others got access to general education.

Notably, a support centre named “Nhan ai” (Benevolence) was built in 2012 with foreign funding. As of 2015, it helped 75 victims with psychological counselling, medical care, along with life skill and vocational training.

Nguyen Tuong Long, Director of the province’s sub-department on social crime prevention, said most of the rescued victims suffered from psychological and health problems such as mental disorders or physical injuries. Although the victims were sent to support facilities for medical treatment and counselling, their reintegration into society is still a major challenge, to themselves and local administrations as well.

A 20-year-old girl of the Mong ethnic group who was sold to China is currently studying at the “Nhan ai” centre. She said she is still haunted by the time she was forced into a marriage in the foreign land though she has escaped from it for two years now.

Staff members at the centre said most of the rescued victims have had physical or mental pains to a greater or lesser degree. Their fear for revenge from the traffickers or discrimination from their resident peers, a shortage of financial support for health care, and insufficient facilities are barriers to their social reintegration.

The victims’ low awareness, as well as a lack of professional support staff also undermined the victims’ reintegration efforts, Director of the sub-department Long said, adding that a helping hand from authorities, relevant agencies and domestic and foreign social organisations is much needed.

He noted from now to 2020, Lao Cai will spend more money sourced from the State budget for victim support activities which will also be combined with other socio-economic programmes such as poverty reduction, vocational training, and job creation.

It will call for local residents and businesses to aid human trafficking prevention and victim support. International cooperation will also be enhanced to garner more financial and technical assistance for the work, he added.-VNA