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Cablegate: Vietnam Takes On Overseas Employment Brokers

VZCZCXRO9510
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0471 1140952
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230952Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7686
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4634
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0041
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3322

UNCLAS HANOI 000471

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/AWH, PRM/PIM, AND G/TIP
BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV TIP ELAB KWMN KCRM SMIG PREL VM

SUBJECT: VIETNAM TAKES ON OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT BROKERS

REFS: A) HANOI 0309; B) HANOI 0356; C) HANOI 0400; D) HANOI 0435
1. (SBU) Summary: The GVN is completing investigation of a recent
series of export-labor fraud cases, 80 percent of which involved
Vietnamese laborers recruited to work in South Korea. Over 100
individuals, involved in the 2006-2007 labor brokerage fee scam,
have been prosecuted for taking advantage of would-be laborers in a
case involving 3,000 victims and USD 5.6 million over two years.
Prison sentences doled out have ranged from three to eleven years,
and USD 1.3 million has been recovered. The prosecutions are a
positive sign that the GVN takes this problem seriously. End
summary.
2. (U) In August 2004, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (ROK)
signed an agreement to send Vietnamese employees abroad through the
ROK's Employment Permit System, a non-profit program providing
employees with attractive working conditions at a low cost. But
under the program, the number of workers allowed to be sent to the
ROK is limited and demand exceeds allotment, leading to export-labor
fraud. Illegal brokerages have offered Korean classes and organized
exams with promises that workers will be sent to the ROK pending the
results of the exams. For these services, many workers knowingly
paid illegal Vietnamese brokerages far more than the regulated
fees.
3. (U) According to press reports, the Hanoi police said that from
the beginning of 2006 to June 2007, there were 71 cases of fraud
totaling USD 3.3 million and involving 119 perpetrators and 2,118
alleged victims. Reliable GVN sources put the amount at USD 5.6
million, involving 198 perpetrators and 3,000 victims from January
2006 to December 2007. The increasing number of branches and
centers for labor export enterprises are said to be worsening the
situation. Of the 160 labor export businesses in Vietnam, 100 have
now been qualified for re-licensing by the Ministry of Labor,
Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) while 20 companies are under
review.
4. (U) The regulated fee for Vietnamese workers going to Korea is
USD 654 and pays for selection, training, visa procedures and
airline tickets. An additional VND 280,000 (USD 17.5) is required
for uniforms and name cards. Dao Cong Hai, Deputy Head of the
Overseas Labor Division of MOLISA, was reported as saying that
"local authorities' labor-export management has not been strict
enough to discover and prevent cases of fraud in time." Hai
stressed in a statement that workers absolutely did not need to pay
money to brokerages.
5. (SBU) Reliable GVN sources tell us that 80 cases involving well
over 100 individuals have been brought to trial in total nationwide.
Over 100 individuals were convicted, with sentences ranging from
three to eleven years. In Vietnam, cases are only brought to trial
by the GVN if a conviction is likely.
6. (SBU) Comment: As Vietnam sends increasing numbers of laborers
overseas, illegal brokerages are cropping up to take advantage of
those seeking better employment opportunities in other countries.
The cases the GVN has brought against over 100 of the perpetrators
indicate that the GVN takes this problem seriously. End comment.

7. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen Ho Chi Minh City.
MICHALAK

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