HANOI (Reuters) - More than 3,000 people in Vietnam, most of them women and children, were trafficked between 2012 and 2017, many of them into China, the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday, as parliament sought to tighten laws to tackle the problem.
Human traffickers took people from markets and schools, and used Facebook and a Vietnamese messaging app to befriend victims before selling them to karaoke bars, restaurants or smuggling them abroad, the ministry said in a statement.
Seventy-five percent of cases involved people being smuggled across the border into China, the ministry said.
“Human trafficking has been taking place across the country, not just in remote and mountainous areas,” Le Thi Nga, head of the National Assembly’s justice department, told a hearing on the problem on Thursday.
The National Assembly is reviewing its anti-human trafficking law, introduced in 2012.
Nga said enforcement of the law had faced “difficulties and shortcomings” and urged legislators to introduce more comprehensive guidelines.
The Ministry of Public Security said police had launched investigations into 1,021 human trafficking cases and arrested 2,035 people in the 2012-2017 period.
A total of 3,090 people had been victims of human trafficking during that time, the ministry said, of whom 90 percent were women and children from ethnic minorities living in remote, mountainous areas.
Vietnam should “reduce poverty, eradicate illiteracy, provide vocational training and create jobs for people - especially for the ethnic minorities”, to help address the problem, the ministry said.
Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson