April 7, 2009: There’s relatively little in the media recently regarding human trafficking and Vietnam.
However, two items stand out: First, a report that Taiwanese officials are cracking down on arranged marriages between their nationals and Vietnamese women, and second, an article from the New York Times that mentions trafficking of children to Vietnam.
The first account, published April 6 by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, quotes government officials as saying that an interview system to screen transnational marriages has succeeded in reducing the number of marriages of convenience by an average of 25 percent annually over the past three years.
The article goes on to note that “In 2008, Taiwan’s representative office in Vietnam rejected 35 percent of the total marriage applications between Taiwanese and Vietnamese people.”
Fraudulent and predatory marriage arrangements have been a source of concern in Taiwanese-Vietnamese relations for many years, and this new development points to increasing recognition of the scale and human consequences of the problem.
The second article that mentions Vietnam does so in a different light: as a destination country for trafficking. This is somewhat surprising, given that data indicate that Vietnam’s overall role is one of a source country for human trafficking.
This New York Times article, which was reprinted on April 5 by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and other media outlets, states that thousands Chinese children stolen from the industrial cities of China’s Pearl River Delta have never been recovered by their parents or by the police.
According to the report, “Although some are sold to buyers in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, most of the boys are purchased domestically by families desperate for a male heir, parents of abducted children and some law enforcement officials who have investigated the matter say.”
The article does not specify the motives for this trafficking, whether it be to acquire a male heir (the main motivation for Chinese purchasers of such children) or to deploy them in industries or in begging or prostitution rings.
Check here each week for ongoing round-ups of news on Vietnam and human trafficking.