Trafficking of women and children discussed
Ha Noi - Trafficking of women and children was recently brought up for discussion among representatives of Government ministries, research institutions, donor embassies, UN agencies and NGOs.
The discussion was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to identify concrete proposals for actions. The focus was on five key trafficking related areas, including law reform and law enforcement; rescuing, rehabilitation and reintegration; prevention, awareness raising and advocacy; research; and networking. Findings of a study entitled: "Trafficking in Humans From and Within Viet Nam" by Duong Bach Le and Paula Frances Kelly were used as the basis for the discussion.
The participants exchanged views on such related issues as commercial sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, organised begging, illegal adoption, money laundering, false marriage, illegal exit/entry, counterfeiting of travelling documents and corruption. They agreed that laws should address trafficking issues in a more comprehensive manner, and suggested that training should be organised, especially for people who may witness trafficking, in laws and regulations, international conventions, laws of neighbouring countries, as well as in the issues of organised crimes and victims.
The participants stressed the importance of child protection and rescue, saying that this is the community's responsibility. How the victims should be treated was also a concern of the participants. According to them, victims should not all be sent to rehabilitation centres; should be provided with appropriate counselling, healthcare as well as literacy and vocational training. Changing community attitudes towards the victims is crucial, the participants agreed.
Trafficking of women and children in Viet Nam has been on the rise in recent years. According to the Women's Union of Lang Son, more than 3,000 women have returned to this northern border province from China since 1993.
The participants also discussed how to prevent trafficking from spreading. They emphasised on the need to identify high-risk geographic areas, potential victims and concerned players; and to better disseminate information to raise public awareness. In particular, support for women and children at risk was seen as a good prevention measure. Any research in trafficking issues should be linked to action.
The participants hailed the opportunity to share their respective concerns, experiences as well as lessons learned and pledged continued collaboration in dealing with the issues.