The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of officials complicit in trafficking offenses despite these trends. Traffickers have created many trans-provincial and transnational rings that take advantage of social networks to make acquaintance with and trick women and girls into illegal marriage, surrogacy, prostitution and forced labour. The government decreased efforts to protect victims. We follow the at-risk population and spread of human trafficking to best respond to their needs. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. Vietnam is increasingly a destination for child sex tourism, with perpetrators from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the P.R.C., Taiwan, the UK, Australia, Europe, and the U.S. • Improve interagency cooperation to effectively implement the anti-trafficking national action plan, including by clarifying the roles of national and provincial-level government entities, fully integrating trafficking data collection into law enforcement efforts, and allocating sufficient resources to the national action plan. The government prosecuted human rights defenders and activists, using a range of criminal law provisions. National authorities did not devote adequate funds for victim protection, encouraging provincial governments to use their own funds for trafficking programs to further decentralize this responsibility, and relied heavily on civil society to provide protection services with limited in-kind support. Large-scale Vietnamese infrastructure investment projects in neighboring countries such as Laos may exploit Vietnamese and foreign workers. Complicit Vietnamese officials, primarily at commune and village levels, facilitate trafficking or exploit victims by accepting bribes from traffickers, overlooking trafficking indicators, and extorting profit in exchange for reuniting victims with their families. Traffickers increasingly use the internet, gaming sites, and particularly social media to lure potential victims into vulnerable situations; men often entice young women and girls with online dating relationships and persuade them to move abroad, then subject them to forced labor or sex trafficking. Pacific Links Foundation leads counter-trafficking efforts at the frontiers of Vietnam by increasing access to education, providing shelter and reintegration services, and enabling economic opportunities. The causes of human trafficking in Vietnam are vast. Vietnam has been one of the top three countries in the world for trafficking into the U.K. for the past six years. Police continued efforts to mainstream trafficking content into the training curriculum for new recruits, and the MPS organized trainings for local police in several cities. During the reporting period, it continued to implement the third phase of the 2016-2020 National Anti-Trafficking Action Plan (NAP); however, civil society reported progress under the NAP slowed due to the MPS reorganization. Vietnamese women and children are subjected to sex trafficking abroad; many are misled by fraudulent employment opportunities and sold to brothel operators on the borders of China, Cambodia, and Laos, and elsewhere in Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. The government maintained labor representatives at diplomatic missions in countries with large numbers of documented Vietnamese migrant workers. Adults are also reportedly subjected to trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. Inconsistent with international law, Article 150 applies to children between the ages of 16 and 17 years old, and requires a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute a sex trafficking offense; it therefore did not criminalize all forms of child sex trafficking. HÀ NỘI — Human trafficking in Việt Nam was on the increase because it was difficult to control, according to experts. The government decreased efforts to protect victims. A new cybersecurity law entered into force in January, aimed at restricting human rights online. Some Vietnamese women who travel abroad for internationally brokered marriages or jobs in restaurants, massage parlors, and karaoke bars—including to China, Cyprus, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Taiwan—are subjected to domestic servitude or sex trafficking. Authorities did not report how many victims received government cash subsidies for food, clothing, and other essential needs. The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. Some officials continued to conflate trafficking with smuggling, which precluded the identification of victims who voluntarily migrated abroad. The procuracies (prosecutor’s office) reported initiating the prosecution of 194 defendants for trafficking offenses (245 in 2017, 295 in 2016, 442 in 2015, 472 in 2014) and the court system secured 213 convictions (244 in 2017, 275 in 2016); sentences ranged from less than three years to 20 years’ imprisonment, however some prison sentences were suspended. This is what we mean when we say that human trafficking is a crime that is hidden in plain sight. Human Trafficking, 2018 7 . Inconsistent with international law, Article 150 required a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion to constitute a sex trafficking offense involving children between the ages of 16 and 17 years old; it therefore did not criminalize all forms of child sex trafficking. • Cease subjecting Vietnamese confined to drug treatment centers to forced labor and allow independent verification that the practice has ended. Unlike most trafficking victims, Do was able to choose from a line of potential husbands who came to her sister's house. The women's unions, in partnership with NGOs and with foreign donor funding, continued to operate three shelters in urban cities, including one dedicated to trafficking victims. The government maintained labor representatives at diplomatic missions in countries with large numbers of documented Vietnamese migrant workers. An international organization reported providing return and reintegration assistance to 11 victims, including 10 Vietnamese fishermen formerly subjected to forced labor and one sex trafficking victim. The government did not offer foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship. The government continued a five-year assessment on NAP implementation benchmarks. Last week Taiwan hosted the 2018 International Workshop on Strategies For Combating Human Trafficking (IWSCHT). Vietnam border – to reach 40,000 students from at-risk communities ”3 This was part of a longer-term suite of activities aimed at human trafficking The goal of this particular project was to disseminate information from teachers to students and families that live on the Cambodian-Vietnam border The Asia Civil society organizations reported assisting 167 victims of trafficking. In October, VTV aired two investigative reports about the issue of human trafficking that dealt with organ harvesting in China. The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL), the national trade union under the direction of Vietnam’s Communist Party, took steps to prevent exploitation of Vietnamese workers abroad. As reported for the last five years, Vietnam is a source and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The National Referral Mechanism shows that in 2018 6993 potential victims were referred into the system, up from 5142 in 2017, and 3804 in 2016. Vietnam is only one of the ASEAN states which has to face the reality of human trafficking. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by enacting penal code amendments, establishing a new task force to increase law enforcement efforts in vulnerable border areas, and initiating an assessment of the implementation of its national action plan. Traffickers force children into street hawking and begging in major urban centers. Vietnam human trafficking worth billions of dollars a year. The MFA organized training courses on human trafficking prevention and combatting in the forms of periodic consular affairs training courses for officials prior to their postings to Vietnamese representative missions abroad. In January, Vietnam is set to introduce the Anti-Human Trafficking Law, which the National Assembly passed in March. For the sixth consecutive year, the government did not prosecute any suspected traffickers under labor trafficking provisions of the 2012 anti-trafficking law. During the migration process European gangs and traffickers often exploit Vietnamese victims in forced labor and sexual exploitation before they reach their final destination. The government conducted workshops and hosted community dialogues on vulnerabilities to labor trafficking, targeting areas with a high prevalence of agricultural labor, construction, and foreign contract labor recruitment – especially of women. Protecting states’ security against human trafficking is also about helping them fight other associated crimes, including smuggling, prostitution, organ trafficking, and money laundering. Phan Anh, VN Express International, 1 December 2019 ... [accessed 20 February 2018] Human trafficking is a pervasive global problem, and strong laws are vital to preventing and prosecuting it, as well as caring for survivors. China and Vietnam will expand intelligence sharing and case investigations in the fight against rampant cross-border trafficking of women, a senior Ministry of Public Security official said. The authorities subjected human rights defenders and activists to harassment, intimidation, and abusive restrictions both online and offline. Some officials continued to conflate trafficking with migrant smuggling, which precluded the identification of victims who voluntarily migrated abroad. In 2018, authorities reported identifying 490 victims of trafficking (670 victims in 2017, 1,128 victims in 2016). Traffickers increasingly exploit girls from ethnic minority communities in the northwest highlands, including in sex trafficking and domestic servitude, by channeling their criminal activities through the traditional practice of bride kidnapping. Article 150 of the penal code criminalized labor trafficking and sex trafficking of adults and prescribed penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of 20 million to 100 million Vietnamese dong (VND) ($862 to $4,310). At 10, ‘Stephen’ was taken from Hanoi to London and then spent four years tending plants for a brutal drug gang. … During the reporting period, the government signed a bilateral anti-trafficking agreement with the United Kingdom to improve law enforcement coordination, and with the Republic of Korea to enhance cooperation between judicial officials, including training Vietnamese prosecutors. Foreign victims, including children, remained at high risk of deportation without screening or referral to protective services. Women are trafficked as brides to neighbouring countries, as well as further afield, with incidents of trafficking that reach as far as Europe. An official website of the United States government, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Office of the U.S. Pronounced social stigma associated with prostitution, especially in Vietnam's rural areas, complicates protective service provision for female victims of sexual exploitation, and places them at higher risk of recidivism. Some traffickers pose as police officers on social media networks to gain victims’ trust. Insufficient time has passed since the close of the reporting period to evaluate if the circular sufficiently addressed the legal discrepancy in the treatment of 16- and 17-year-old children in sex trafficking cases as adults. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and government-affiliated Women’s Unions often referred victims to NGOs depending on their individual needs. 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