Vietnam is a human trafficking and illegal migration hotspot with annual profits worth tens of billions of dollars, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
“Vietnam is considered a hotspot for human trafficking and illegal migration among countries in the Mekong Subregion, with estimated profits of tens of billions of U.S. dollars per year,” Le Van Nhan, deputy head of the anti-human trafficking division under the Public Security Ministry, said at a conference held in HCMC Friday.
While exact numbers are not available on profit derived from human trafficking activities in Vietnam, the ministry has identified several transnational organ trade and surrogacy rings in the past few years worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and these form just a part of the whole human trafficking family, Nhan said.
Despite its widespread prevalence, preventive measures against human trafficking are lacking, however, said Pham Long Bien, head of the anti-drug and crime department of the Border Defense Force.
“Informing people about human trafficking is good, but more important is providing such information to local leaders,” he said.
“We need to both support victims of human trafficking and raise awareness. Because many victims who have returned have been trafficked again, or joined trafficking rings themselves, coercing their relatives and families into the trade for immediate material gratification,” said Nguyen Tuong Long, head of the management board of a project to support human trafficking victims in northern Lao Cai Province.
Vietnam has recorded over 3,400 victims of human trafficking since 2013, over 90 percent of them women, children and people from ethnic minority communities, said Nguyen Xuan Lap, head of the Department of Social Issues Prevention, at the conference. Many of them are from rural communities or poor areas, who either work in agriculture, are uneducated or unemployed, he said.
The country also has 400 social support centers, where over 2,900 human trafficking victims, mostly women, have been provided with basic necessities, as well as medical, psychological and legal support, the conference heard.
The U.S Trafficking in Persons report in June said Vietnam has yet to meet the minimum standards of the U.S.’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, despite making significant efforts to comply with those standards.