Notes from the Field

From Vietnam: A Report on Combating Human Trafficking

September 17, 2008

On September 9, 2008, a workshop in Vietnam drew more than a hundred participants from government agencies, ministries, National Assembly, international and national organizations, and representatives from 12 provinces. The workshop, “Strengthening Cooperation and Effective Implementation of Anti-Human Trafficking Programs in Vietnam,” was organized by Vietnam’s Executive Office of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking (Office 130 of the Ministry of Public Security) and The Asia Foundation, and provided participants with an update from the government on new trends and patterns of human trafficking in Vietnam.  It also provided an opportunity for discussions around challenges and solutions, for participants to contribute to the ongoing drafting of the anti-trafficking law, and to examine existing anti-trafficking programs and discuss how they could better be implemented to respond to the constantly evolving trafficking situation.  

While sexual exploitation remains the dominant dimension of human trafficking, reports at the workshop highlighted greater labor exploitation through labor export and foreign marriages, and emerging patterns of trafficking of men, newborn babies and children of ethnic minority backgrounds, and human organs.  Reports also showed that unstable employment and poverty are key drivers of migration, which opens up risk of trafficking for many young women. Greater attention to local economic opportunities for women is needed.  In addition, strong and well-informed communities remain one of the best weapons in the prevention of trafficking.  In this regard, many participants emphasized the ongoing need for information and awareness campaigns, but they emphasized that they should be adapted to local contexts, presented in local languages and art forms, and interactive in format.  The upcoming anti-trafficking law will also play an important role in providing a more effective legal environment to address this challenging problem.

On the occasion of this important national workshop, The Asia Foundation in Vietnam released its report, Combating Human Trafficking in Vietnam:  Lessons Learned and Practical Experiences for Future Program Design and Implementation from The Asia Foundation, 2002-2008.  The report provides a systematic analysis of the different strategies the Foundation has undertaken in the past six years in addressing human trafficking, some of which were also presented at the workshop.

Kim Ninh is The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Vietnam. She can be reached at kninh@asiafound.org.

View all posts by Kim N. B. Ninh | Bio

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