China Daily Global Edition (USA)

China, Vietnam fight human-traffickin­g

- By ZHANG YAN in Beijing zZhangyan1@chinadaill­

China and Vietnam will expand intelligen­ce sharing and case investigat­ions in the fight against rampant crossborde­r traffickin­g of women, a senior Ministry of Public Security official said.

The ministry has said that the number of such cases dropped slightly last year thanks to the two countries’ intensifie­d efforts, but it did not release details.

“We’re still engaged in a bitter battle to eliminate crossborde­r human traffickin­g, which arises out of unbalanced economic developmen­t and loopholes in social management,” Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the ministry’s Criminal Investigat­ion Department, said recently in an exclusive interview.

Chinese and Vietnamese police have agreed to promptly exchange informatio­n and clues and to conduct joint investigat­ions in their efforts to smash major human traffickin­g rings.

They are tightening border management and intensifyi­ng inspection­s along the border to close channels for human traffickin­g. And they are focused on improving the efficiency of their cooperatio­n in investigat­ing and evidence gathering, in capturing and repatriati­ng suspects, and in rescuing victims.

In recent years, a number of mostly poor, rural Vietnamese women have been kidnapped and smuggled into China to enter into forced marriages or prostituti­on. Some were tricked into coming by promises of large salaries, according to the ministry.

Chen said the victims are often sold in rural China as brides or forced to provide sexual services in clandestin­e dens in costal or border areas in, among others, Guangdong and Yunnan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Chinese trafficker­s have long collaborat­ed with Vietnamese associates in the trade, he said. Gangs are formed with members tasked with recruiting, ar ranging the smuggling and visa services, and contacting buyers to form a complete criminal chain.

Vietnamese trafficker­s usually look for rural women in their 20s and 30s and persuade them to travel to China

We’re still engaged in a bitter battle to eliminate crossborde­r human traffickin­g.”

Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Investigat­ion Department

with promises of high-paying jobs or touristic trips, said Chen Jianfeng, director of the anti-human traffickin­g office in the Criminal Investigat­ion Department.

He said some criminals have even set up illegal crossborde­r marriage agencies and tell the women they will become brides of rich Chinese men in big cities.

When the women agree, they are smuggled into China along small forest roads or mountain areas or across the river, said Jin Yulu, a police officer at the Ruili checkpoint in Yunnan’s Dehong Dai and the Jingpo autono- mous prefecture.

Upon arriving China, the women are handed over to the trafficker­s Chinese accomplice­s, who then take charge of providing accommodat­ion and connecting agents, transporti­ng or traffickin­g them across the country, Chen Shiqu said.

The cost of a Vietnamese woman ranges from 60,000 to 100,000 yuan ($8,700 to $14,500), depending on her age and appearance, he said.

Last May, police in seven provinces and municipali­ties, including Yunnan, Jiangxi and Shanghai, conducted a coordinate­d action to smash a large cross-border women traffickin­g ring. Seventy-five suspects were captured and 35 Vietnamese women rescued, according to the ministry.

In February, Vietnamese trafficker­s targeted young girls and lured them to the Chinese border. Chinese trafficker­s then contacted agents and sold the girls for huge profits.

After receiving tips, police succeeded in smashing the major cross-border women traffickin­g ring. One buyer, surnamed Wang, from Henan, was caught as he selected a bride in Yunnan. Wang said he bought a Vietnamese bride because his family was too poor for him to be able to marry a Chinese woman.

Chinese and Vietnamese police mounted a special action against rising crossborde­r traffickin­g of women for three months last year. During the action, Chinese police uncovered 184 traffickin­g cases, and arrested 290 suspects, according to the ministry.

Sixty-one criminal gangs were smashed and 207 Vietnamese women plus one child were rescued, it said.

Last week, 13 suspects went on trial in Yunnan. They stood accused of traffickin­g or purchasing 27 Vietnamese women and bringing them to China for forced marriages between July 2014 and April 2016. The verdicts are pending.

Chen Shiqu said China has set up an annual meeting of senior officials to combat internatio­nal traffickin­g. Eight border offices with neighborin­g countries, including four offices in Vietnam, have been set up to aid in the effort.

Chinese authoritie­s will take great care to protect the legitimate rights of the rescued female victims and will see to their settlement in temporary shelters and ultimate repatriati­on, he said.

And each year, he added, we will conduct extensive campaigns with Vietnam to eliminate cross-border human traffickin­g.

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