Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha speaks at the workshop in Hanoi on September 11 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the International Organisation for Migration held a workshop in Hanoi on September 11 to review policies and legal regulations on assistance for returnee victims of trafficking.

Participants said human trafficking in Vietnam tends to be on the rise. Traffickers have created many trans-provincial and transnational rings that take advantage of social networks to make acquaintance with and trick women and girls into illegal marriage, surrogacy, prostitution and forced labour.

According to a report of the Vietnamese Government’s steering committee for crime prevention and control, from 2012 to 2017, authorised forces rescued and received about 7,500 trafficking victims. 

More than 90 percent of them were women and girls while over 80 percent were ethnic minority people with limited knowledge and awareness and disadvantaged economic conditions. Over 70 percent of the victims did farm work or were unemployed, 37 percent were illiterate, and about 6.8 percent were young people.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha said more than 98 percent of the victims were trafficked to other countries, mainly China (over 90 percent). Nearly 80 percent of them were forced into marriage and sexual exploitation.

She added that after being rescued or received by relevant agencies, all the victims were provided with psychological support, medical check-ups and legal aid. About half of them have also been helped to reintegrate into society.

Many participants acknowledged the attention that the National Assembly and the Government have paid to the fight against human trafficking and the reception and assistance for returnee victims. Since the Law on Human Trafficking Prevention and Control took effect in 2012, synchronous legal documents and policies have been issued, creating a more favourable legal framework for receiving and supporting the return and integration of trafficking victims.

However, the reception and assistance for them have yet to meet expectations due to certain problems relating to mechanisms and policies, they noted.

Sen. Lt. Col. Nguyen Van Trang, deputy head of the anti-human trafficking division of the Ministry of Public Security, said although the revised Penal Code came into effect on January 1, 2018, there haven’t been any documents guiding the implementation of Articles 150 and 151 on human trafficking.

Notably, after returning, few victims reported their cases to police, leading to difficulties in the investigation and punishment of traffickers. Some victims left their places of residence because of the feeling of shame and the fear of revenge.

The rescue and investigation also faced many obstacles as in most cases, victims were brought deep into other countries’ territories, Trang added.

At the workshop, participants called for existing legal regulations and policies to be revised. They said the 2005 decree on administrative penalties in the field of social security, order and safety should be amended to exempt trafficking victims from liability when they got involved in prostitution or illegal exit and entrance. Meanwhile, the Law on Legal Assistance should be supplemented to include trafficking victims in groups eligible for free legal aid. –VNA