Hanoi, May 30, 2007 — The Asia Foundation is launching a $300,000 project to combat human trafficking in Vietnam over the next two years. The project will be implemented in partnership with the Government of Vietnam and local organizations in five provinces most affected by human trafficking. To support the project activities, The Asia Foundation will open an office on the premises of An Giang University in Vietnam’s southern province along Cambodia’s border.
Funded by the U.S. Department of State Office to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons, the project will pilot new methods for preventing the serious and growing problem of trafficking in Vietnam.
Many women and young girls are trafficked as they migrate from Vietnam to Cambodia or from rural to urban areas within Vietnam, seeking better economic opportunities. The program will support public education on safe migration and peer counseling to prevent trafficking. Dramatic theatre performances, often staged by the communities themselves, will inform young girls about the risk of trafficking and how to avoid falling prey to traffickers’ false promises of jobs or marriage. Girls are often trafficked by people within their own community and sometimes even by family members making it critical to involve communities as the first line of defense in preventing trafficking.
The Asia Foundation will also work closely with local officials to increase women’s participation in the budget process so that they have greater say over how local public resources are used and to ensure that there are resources allocated for safe migration.
“By our work, The Asia Foundation reaffirms its strong commitment to combating the terrible global problem of trafficking in persons across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Douglas Bereuter, president of The Asia Foundation. “Vietnam’s rapid and impressive economic growth offers significant opportunity for people’s advancement but of course it also presents challenges. The Asia Foundation is pleased to launch this important initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Vietnam, and local civil society organizations working on the problem.”
The Asia Foundation has years of experience combating trafficking utilizing tested models and strategies and building on the Foundation’s excellent relationships with the Vietnamese government and local partner organizations. Over the last five years, with support from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, private foundations and individuals, The Asia Foundation has worked extensively with a large number of Vietnamese partner organizations including the Vietnam Women’s Union, the National Legal Aid Agency of the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice, the Centre for Education Promotion and Empowerment of Women, and the local authorities in Quang Ninh, Can Tho, and An Giang provinces. Programs have focused on promoting trafficking awareness, providing microenterprise training and microcredit for trafficking survivors and poor women, establishing community monitoring groups, providing free legal aid services for women and children including trafficking survivors, providing vocational training for trafficking survivors, providing scholarships for girls in at-risk communities; and promoting cross-border collaboration between Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.