A Chinese police officer hands over an infant trafficked to China to a Vietnamese police officer (Photo: VNA)

Lao Cai (VNA) – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of northern border Lao Cai province held a workshop in Lao Cai city on November 30 to discuss a hotline on human trafficking prevention and control.

A representative of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said human trafficking in Vietnam is a serious problem that needs to be addressed urgently. Human trafficking is becoming increasingly complicated and hard to discover. Therefore, demand for advice and information on migration and human trafficking prevention is rising.

The establishment of a hotline to fight human trafficking is a necessity, the official said, noting that the Vietnamese Government asked for technical support from the Japanese government in August 2010 on the issue. In 2013, the hotline 18001567, assisted by JICA, for preventing and combating human trafficking was piloted in Hanoi, northern Ha Giang province, and southern An Giang province.

As of July 2017, the hotline had received nearly 10,000 calls, more than 80 percent of which came from provinces and cities other than the targeted localities such as Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Lao Cai provinces and Ho Chi Minh City. 

Callers informed about human trafficking cases or asked for advice and victim support. Most of the callers were aged between 19 and 40, and 63 percent were men. The hotline also handled calls from some other countries such as China and Malaysia.

[Video: Dien Bien police move to prevent human trafficking]

In northern mountainous provinces like Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Yen Bai, Son La, Ha Giang and Dien Bien, long borderlines, economic hardship, unemployment and lax management of exit from and entry into the country heighten human trafficking risks, the workshop heard.

In recent years, communication activities have been held in these six provinces to raise public awareness of human trafficking. Notably, the hotline for fighting human trafficking has been popularised through distributing leaflets and holding training courses for local officials and meetings to disseminate information.

At the workshop in Lao Cai city, JICA’s technical support group asked the northern mountainous border provinces to better popularise the hotline.

Officials from the provinces said they will push ahead with introducing the hotline on local media outlets and providing information for local officials, organisations and victims.-VNA