Cablegate: Unicef and Mps Report On Trafficking in Vietnam

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: The Ministry of Public Security, working in
cooperation with Cooperazione Italiana and UNICEF, released
the government's first comprehensive statistical report on
trafficking in Vietnam. At the same time, the GVN and other
agencies in Vietnam agree that "official" trafficking
statistics are lower than actual numbers because the study
does not correct for unreported cases. End Summary.

2. (U) MPS worked with UNICEF to gather cumulative
statistics on TIP cases through June 2003 in 17 "hot spot"
provinces and cities throughout Vietnam: Lao Cai, Ha Giang,
Cao Bang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Ha Tay, Bac Giang, Thanh
Hoa, Nghe An, Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh, An Giang, Dong
Thap, Vinh Long, Can Tho, and in two districts located at
the border in Lai Chau Province. UNICEF and UNODC believe
the actual number of people being trafficked to be
significantly greater than that mentioned in the report, but
the report was restricted to cases the police could confirm.
According to UNICEF, Vietnamese authorities estimate
"thousands" of women and children are trafficked each year,
while UNICEF China refers to Chinese reports of
approximately 20,000 Vietnamese trafficking victims
currently living in China. MPS explicitly acknowledged the
understatement in the report, noting that the methodology of
the research restricted reporting to confirmable cases.

3. (U) According to the report, the police recorded 1758
trafficking cases through 2003. Of the 1758 cases, 870
victims had returned to Vietnam, while 880 cases remained
abroad. From 1997 to June 2003, the number of repatriated
victims steadily increased, with 80 cases before 1997; 83 in
1998; 89 in 1999; 142 in 2000; 167 in 2001; and 245 in 2002
and the first six months of 2003. This increasing trend
suggests the government is taking steps to see that victims
are repatriated and that the victims are willing to report
their situations to the police.

4. (U) Meanwhile, no trend exists for the number of people
being stopped at the border. The MPS reports 470 cases
being trafficked abroad before 1998; 175 in 1998; 306 in
1999; 245 in 2000; 196 in 2001; and 124 in 2002 and six
months of 2003.

5. (U) Noortje Verhart of IOM Hanoi, Nguyen Hoang Oanh of
IOOM HCMC, and Troels Vester of UNODC based in Hanoi agreed
that the statistics understated the actual number of victims
and traffickers in the country. Trafficking was still a
relatively new issue to the Vietnamese, said Vester, and
that might account for the relatively low number of arrests.
UNODC training of law enforcement officials in June 2004
represented an effort to increase prosecution of TIP crimes,
he noted. Mrs. Oanh of IOM commented that many TIP victims
went undetected. They refused to report to the police
because of the social stigma associated with sexual labor.

6. (U) Comment: The release of the first comprehensive
report on TIP activities in the country suggests that the
GVN is increasing its awareness of the issue and trying to
be more open about its efforts to combat trafficking. The
GVN sought the assistance of NGOs in doing the research, and
the report was published with the help of UNICEF and
Cooperazione Italiana, indicating that the GVN has opted to
endure the embarrassment of a public acknowledgement of the
trafficking problem in order to increase the effectiveness
of its anti-trafficking efforts. Even with international
assistance, however, the GVN is restricted in its data
collection to known cases. To get a more accurate picture
of the actual trafficking situation in Vietnam, researchers
will need to use more sophisticated sampling and analysis
techniques and engage in at least some extrapolation. End

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