A two-month campaign to tackle the trafficking of women and children starts next week.

The General Department of Police has asked the force nationwide to form plans to combat rings involved in trafficking in border regions, especially those adjoining China and Cambodia.

It would work closely with border guards and other agencies to rescue and repatriate victims of trafficking who faced being sold in foreign countries. So far this year, 191 trafficking cases involving 417 women and children have been detected.

A recent ministry report indicated about 360 people were being investigated for likely involvement in related illegal activities. Since 2005, there have been 1,600 cases of human trafficking with 4,300 victims – and about 3,000 people were investigated for involvement.

Traffickers often sell women and children they kidnap in northern provinces , including Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Dien Bien, to contacts in China.

“Reasons for trafficking were the economic crisis, unemployment and residents’ low awareness of the law,” said the deputy director of the Social Order Crime Investigation Police Department, Nguyen Tri Phuong.

There was a lack of co-ordinated administration and also difficulties when working with neighbouring countries, he said. “To prevent human trafficking, we need help from our neighbours.”

The ministry would co-ordinate with provincial police and border guards and bodies in China, Cambodia and Laos to establish better ways to try to eliminate trafficking rings.

Traffickers often take advantage of dark nights and a lack of vigilance among families to kidnap children. In isolated cases, they have murdered parents to kidnap newborn babies.

Nearly 80 percent of the women had lived in Mekong Delta provinces and Ho Chi Minh City, where police discovered five cases of illegal marriage brokerage and arrested 26 people for acting as middlemen./.