Young Vietnamese women are valuable commodities

CNN reports on Vietnamese girls trafficked into China to be rape-married.

The villages along the Vietnamese-Chinese border are a hunting ground for human traffickers. Girls as young as 13 say they are tricked or drugged, then spirited across the porous border by boat, motorbike or car. Young Vietnamese women are valuable commodities in China, where the one-child policy and long-standing preference for sons has heavily skewed the gender ratio.

To put it simply, Chinese men are hungry for brides.

Of course, “valuable commodity” doesn’t mean “to be respected and well treated”; it means “to be paid a high price for.” The money goes to the pimp, and the “bride” enters a life of slavery.

Nguyen was just 16 when a friend’s boyfriend drugged her and smuggled her into China. She tried to resist a forced marriage. For three months, she refused, even though her traffickers beat her, withheld food and threatened to kill her, she says. Finally, she relented. She says her husband was kind to her, but she never stopped missing her family in Vietnam.

“My desire to go home was indescribable,” Nguyen said. “I agreed to marry the man but I could not stay with a stranger without any feelings for him.”

When her mother-in-law realized Lan was never going to warm to the marriage, the family returned her to the traffickers. They got their money back, Nguyen says, after which she was forced into a second marriage.

Heads they win, tails she loses.

The good news is, China is co-operating with Viet Nam in trying to stop the trafficking.

During CNN’s trip to the border, the government called and told us the police had just rescued five girls as they were about to cross the border with a trafficker. We met the girls, who are just 14 years old. They said they were promised $600 to go to work in China by a neighbor from the same village. They didn’t tell their parents they were going. The neighbor is now under arrest.

The Vietnamese police are sometimes able to rescue women even after they have crossed into China, by enlisting the help of Chinese authorities. Nguyen Tuong Long, the head of the government’s social vice prevention department in Lao Cai, says last year they rescued and returned 109 Vietnamese trafficking victims.

“Because of cooperation between the Vietnamese and the Chinese police, we have found and caught trafficking rings,” Nguyen says. “We’ve found women far inside China, at brothels where they’re forced to become sex workers.”

Slaves. Sex slaves, not sex workers. But it’s good about the trafficking rings.

H/t Freemage

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