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Cablegate: Cross-Country Coordination On Rescue of 8 Tip Victims

VZCZCXRO5675
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHNH
DE RUEHHM #0608/01 2710942
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280942Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6045
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 3943
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY PRIORITY 6282

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000608

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP PREL PGOV VM
SUBJECT: CROSS-COUNTRY COORDINATION ON RESCUE OF 8 TIP VICTIMS

HO CHI MIN 00000608 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The dramatic rescue of eight Vietnamese women
from a brothel in Thailand's southern Yala province in August
highlighted Vietnamese authorities' improving investigation
techniques and cooperation with regional law enforcement
officials, as well as their effective collaboration with
international anti-trafficking NGOs. With more resources, the
GVN's anti-trafficking efforts could be even more effective.
End Summary.

Cross Country Collaboration

---------------------------

2. (SBU) In August, Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper carried the
harrowing tale of eight Vietnamese women rescued during a Thai
Department of Special Investigation (DSI)raid on a brothel in
Thailand's southern Yala province on the border with Malaysia.
The eight women are originally from the Cambodian border
province of Tay Ninh and range in age from 17 to 21 years of
age.

3. (SBU) Contacts at anti-trafficking NGO AFESIP (French acronym
for Acting for Women in Distressing Situations) said Thai
authorities acted on a tip received from the Vietnamese
anti-trafficking police (PC 14), delivered via the Vietnamese
Embassy in Bangkok. PC 14 learned of the potential whereabouts
of the missing women from group of traffickers arrested in
southern Vietnam. AFESIP was instrumental in linking PC 14 and
the Vietnamese Embassy to the right anti-trafficking
counterparts in DSI. Within three days, Thai police rescued the
women and amassed enough evidence to charge their captors with
trafficking. DSI is now holding one 46-year old alleged
trafficker and is looking for three additional Malaysian
suspects connected with the brothel. AFESIP said the eight
women are in protective custody and are participating in the
ongoing investigation of the trafficking ring. They will
eventually be transferred to the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok
for repatriation.

Victims Lured By False Labor Recruiter

--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) According to the media reports, the victims said they
were approached by a Vietnamese woman named Tuyen who was
looking for people to work in restaurants in Singapore in March
and promised high salaries. Instead of going to Singapore,
however, the women were flown to Thailand. After arriving in
Bangkok and having their passports confiscated, the women were
taken to the brothel in Betong district, Yala province. Tuyen's
Malaysian husband ordered them to work as prostitutes and
threatened death for anyone who disobeyed. Although the brothel
owner collected VND1.7 million (approximately $100 USD) per
client, the women were paid next to nothing, because the brothel
owner told them their wages were being used to pay the "debt"
they incurred for their cosmetics, blankets and airfare from
Vietnam to Thailand.

Comment

-------

5. (SBU) While anti-trafficking efforts in Vietnam have seen
measurable improvement in the last few years, particularly in
the area of law-enforcement, further progress is restricted by
the realities of what authorities have to work with. PC-14
teams are specialized criminal police units located within MPS
departments in HCMC and at the provincial and district level.
The HCMC team is tasked with coordinating with their provincial
counterparts in all provinces from Da Nang to Ca Mau, an area
they admit is far too large for their limited resources. PC 14
is committed to rescuing Vietnamese TIP victims abroad and is
slowly establishing the ties with Interpol, foreign missions and
law enforcement agencies needed to network effectively, but say
their outreach efforts are hampered by insufficient budgets and
a lack of human resources. PC 14 contacts believe more
specialized police officers and investigators are needed because
TIP cases are increasingly more complex and laborious due to the
multiple countries and entities involved. Success stories such
as this one could be more common if the GVN invested more
resources in anti-TIP efforts, including anti-TIP training at

HO CHI MIN 00000608 002.2 OF 002


the local commune police level, since they are often the first
to learn of trafficking victims via family members. End comment.

7. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Hanoi.
FAIRFAX

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