Search

 

Cablegate: Tip Arrests and Prosecutions in Hcmc On the Rise, Victims

VZCZCXRO5188
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHNH
DE RUEHHM #0964/01 3010240
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270240Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5069
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 3388
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY PRIORITY 5298
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG PRIORITY 0278

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000964

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV TIP KWMN KCRM VM
SUBJECT: TIP ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS IN HCMC ON THE RISE, VICTIMS
HELPING TO RAISE AWARENESS

REF: HCMC 756 AND PREVIOUS

HO CHI MIN 00000964 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary. The GVN continues make strides in arresting and
prosecuting human traffickers in HCMC and prosecute those
responsible for trafficking in persons, with two new
investigations underway and a stiff sentence upheld at a
trafficker's appeals trial in October. Anti-TIP NGO AFESIP says
cooperation with authorities is improving and response times on
TIP leads are faster thanks to recent GVN efforts to step up
anti-TIP work. A recently returned victim also shared her story
with the press to warn others - a remarkable step in a country
where the stigma of being a victim and the shame it brings to
one's family is still a powerful bar to creating greater public
awareness of the dangers of trafficking-in-persons. End
Summary.

Arrest of Sex Trafficker
------------------------
2. (SBU) On October 1, HCMC press reported the arrest of Truong
Nguyen for trafficking women to Malaysia. A suspected
accomplice, Ms. Nguyen Thi Mai Trang, was released due to her
pregnancy. Lieutenant Colonel Le Thanh Kiem of HCMC's anti-TIP
police (Unit PC-14) said they caught Nguyen "red-handed" when he
attempted to traffic another woman to Malaysia at the end of
September. LTC Kiem said the investigation is ongoing, so few
details are publicly available at the moment.

3. (SBU) Press reports say Trang promised an 18 year old "NTGP"
(the victim's name was withheld from the press) a high paying
job at a restaurant in Singapore in exchange for a USD 200
"finder's fee." Upon arriving in Singapore on January 25, NTGP
was taken across the border to Malaysia, where she said two men
picked her up, drove her to their home and forced her to work as
a prostitute 3-5 times per day for approximately USD 80 to 140
per customer. NTGP said the two men kept all her earnings and
threatened to starve her and sell her to another country if her
family did not pay a ransom. LTC Kiem said NTGP's family
initially informed their local ward police of her plight and
called the Indonesian Consulate to ask for assistance after
receiving no word from the authorities. In February 2008,
NTGP's family paid a USD 2000 ransom to a Malaysian man for her
freedom. The Indonesian Consulate cooperated with the
Vietnamese Embassy to rescue NGTP and, upon arriving home, NTGP
and her family reported the details of her story directly to
PC-14, who immediately began the investigation that led to
Nguyen and Trang's arrest.

4. (SBU) LTC Kiem said PC-14 is currently investigating another
case involving three victims from the Mekong Delta province of
Dong Thap who were trafficked to Macau to work as prostitutes.
One of the victims managed to call home, and PC-14 contacted the
Vietnamese Consulate in Hong Kong to coordinate their return. A
Vietnamese consul traveled to Macau to meet the women and help
them escape back to Vietnam. The police have arrested four
suspects but reported difficulties in obtaining cooperation from
Macau authorities.

Heavy Sentences Stand for Traffickers, NGO Gives Kudos to Police
--------------------------------------------- -------------------
5. (SBU) Successful prosecutions of traffickers are also on the
rise. On October 13, the HCMC Appeals Court rejected an appeal
from Ms. Hua Hue Muoi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison
for the charge of human trafficking in a court hearing on June
10. Muoi also received a fine of USD 1,180, was ordered to pay
USD 885 compensation to the victims, and had USD $2,855
confiscated when she was arrested. Her accomplice, Quang Chi
Phat, who did not lodge an appeal, was sentenced to 12 years for
a similar conviction. Ms. Muoi lured 28 local women to Malaysia
by posing as a marriage broker from May 2005 to May 2006, and
sold her victims to Malaysian traffickers for between USD
1,500-2,000. Kiem said they initially investigated 10 potential
trafficking suspects, but Vietnamese prosecutors could only
build solid cases for Muoi and Phat.

6. (SBU) LTC Kiem said PC-14 cooperated with anti-TIP NGO AFESIP
(Acting for Women in Distressing Situations) to track down the
women trafficked by Muoi and Phat. AFESIP then used their
network of NGO contacts in Malaysia to coordinate the victims'
rescue with Malaysian authorities. AFESIP Country Coordinator
Cao Minh Quyen said cooperation between the NGO, PC-14 and PA-18
(HCMC's immigration police) is improving, and police are
responding more quickly on information requests. Quyen said
their network of NGOs in Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia pass on
information about Vietnamese sex workers, which AFESIP Vietnam
then asks police to verify. "Three years ago, the authorities
would take up to 12 to 14 months to respond" said Quyen, while
today the NGO receives verification within 30 days. Quyen
attributed the improved response time to a new GVN interagency

HO CHI MIN 00000964 002.2 OF 002


circular (Ministry of Public Security Inter-Agency Circular #3)
issued in May that requires verification requests to be
processed within 30-45 days as well as the Prime Minister's
Decision No. 17 in January urging law enforcement agencies to
step up their anti-TIP efforts.

Victim Shares Her Story
-----------------------
7. (SBU) In addition to bringing their cases to the police, TIP
victims are also sharing their stories with the press to warn
others of the potential dangers in seeking overseas employment
or marriage, a brave move in a country where most victims are
afraid to come forward because they face societal and familial
discrimination. A 22-year-old Vietnamese girl named "TTG"
(whose name was withheld from the press at her request) shared
her story about being duped to work as a commercial sex worker
in Indonesia with Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper on October 1.

8. (SBU) In the article TTG said she met "T" (whose name was
also withheld at TTG's request due to threats she received from
T) two months ago, and after a short time, T offered TTG an
opportunity to go to Indonesia and work at her friend's garment
shop. To convince TTG and her family, T invited them to her
house and let them talk on the phone to a Vietnamese girl named
"My" living in Indonesia. My painted a rosy picture of her work
in Indonesia for TTG and her family, noting how her overseas
earnings had made her family very well off in Vietnam. Several
days later, T made TTG an even more attractive offer -- marriage
to a wealthy Indonesian man. Towards this end, TTG was
persuaded into borrowing USD 2,300 to undergo breast
augmentation surgery.

9. (SBU) After the operation, T contacted an Indonesian man
named Hengky Lukman who helped TTG with her visa procedures.
When she arrived in Indonesia on August 28, TTG said two men
picked her up and took her to an apartment building, then forced
her to "entertain" customers at a neighboring hotel. TTG said
she saw more than 100 girls from Indonesia, Thailand,
Philippines, China, and other countries working for this
commercial trafficking ring. TTG said dozens of girls were
required to stand in line waiting to be selected by men visiting
the hotel bar. TTG says although she had to "serve" many
customers, she only received two poor meals every day and the
boss, Lukman, did not give her any money. Over a week later,
TTG was able to contact her family in Vietnam, who in turn
contacted the Indonesian Consulate in HCMC for help. The
Consulate staff asked the family to contact the Vietnamese
Embassy in Indonesia, and the Vietnamese Embassy coordinated
with the Indonesian police to rescue TTG on September 16. The
news report said that HCMC police have been seeking T for
questioning, but have been unable to locate her thus far.

Comment
-------

10. (SBU) The steady uptick in Vietnamese press reports on human
trafficking is a direct result of the GVN's concerted efforts to
improve cooperation and coordination among law enforcement
agencies, which demonstrates their continued commitment to
tackle trafficking-in-persons from all angles. AFESIP's
comments are a signal things are moving forward, but much work
remains to be done. In many cases, families are still paying
ransoms in order to get their loved ones returned and often
police either cannot or will not act until victims come home and
step forward. TTG's story in Thanh Nien is an example of how
victims are increasingly willing to step forward, despite the
social stigma they may face. TTG said her decision came from
her desire to warn to others, showing her understanding of the
powerful voice victims can have in raising public awareness.
FAIRFAX

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC