Download the complete reportBRIDES FOR SALE: A Comprehensive Report on Asian Women Trafficking to China
It has been reported that in the rural mountains of Vietnam, young girls are disappearing from their homes with increasing regularity. Many turn up across the border, sold as wives for the price of a buffalo. There, they are generally first sold into prostitution in big cities. After several months or years of forced sex work, they are sold again – this time to poor, older Chinese men looking for wives.
Other Chinese bachelors use professional marriage brokers to meet Vietnamese women.
On average, a broker makes a profit of USD 4,000$ out of each deal, according to the Chinese magazine China Reform.
Vietnamese and Chinese authorities reported court cases that involved trafficking for marriage from rural areas in the north of Vietnam to China. Cases referred to include that of a Chinese man who engaged Vietnamese persons with local knowledge to find girls for marriages in China at the price of 10,000 yuan (approximately USD 1,500$) for each girl recruited. The recruiters then moved the victims across the border into Chinese territory where the victims were sold for marriage for the agreed-upon price. (Global report on trafficking in persons 2018)
According to a 1999 survey by Dongxing Women’s Federation, 1,269 Vietnamese women are living in the city with a population of 120,000. Of them, 647 are married to local residents without going through legal formalities. Statistics from Dongxing Public Security Bureau indicate that 242 Vietnamese women are involved in the 74 trafficking cases recorded since
The Pingxiang Public Security Bureau rescued 13 Vietnamese women between 1992 and 1997. All of them had been sold for “marriage” in China. In 2000, the bureau rescued 103 Vietnamese women, nearly half of whom had been forced into prostitution.
According to Wei Xiaoning, director of the Women’s Rights Department of the Guangxi Women’s Federation, Guangxi police rescued and expatriated a total of 1,030 Vietnamese women during the crackdown in 1990. To date, 231 of these women have been rescued.
According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the authorities saved about 7,500 people from trafficking between 2012 and 2017, almost 90 percent of them women and children, especially girls.
Between 2012 and 2018, local authorities foiled 48 trafficking cases. Some 85 traffickers were arrested, and 78 victims were rescued. In 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, provincial authorities helped repatriate 60 Vietnamese women and infants taken to China.
More than 1,000 cases were detected by June 2019 involving 2,600 victims. In 829 of them, the traffickers sold 2,319 people to China, according to ministry data released at a meeting on Tuesday.
Many cross-cultural relationships begin when Chinese men meet their future wives while working in Vietnam. Vietnam and China share a 1,000-mile, largely unprotected border without major natural barriers. The two countries have forged close economic ties through a free-trade agreement effective since 2010. Citizens from border areas of both countries don’t need a passport to cross back and forth.
The destination for trafficking has extended from border regions to inland provinces such as Henan, Hebei, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Guangdong.
Criminal organizations operating in the Northern province are mainly concentrated in three border locations: the city of Móng Cái, plus Bình Liêu and Hải Hà districts. In particular, Móng Cái – which has a border crossing – is now the main hub for human trafficking. One reason is that Chinese citizens entering Vietnam here do not need a visa for up to 15 days.
Dongxing City, at the southwest tip of the Guangxi Autonomous Region in China, shares a 33-kilometer borderline with Vietnam, where border trade between the two countries is carried out. Women and children are trafficked using this route. Some women are also trafficked using the sea route as depicted on the map.
The ordeal of Vietnamese Women
Ha Thi Phan, 32, is from Mai Pha Commune in Lang Son in northeast Vietnam. She was a divorcee who became a coolie in 1991, carrying goods across the border day after day. “One day,” she recalls, “my hirer told me that if I go further into China I could earn more money. So I did, leaving my children to an acquaintance.” But on her way she was led to a Chinese woman who later sold her to a Chinese man in Ningming County, about 40 kilometers from Pingxiang, also a Chinese border town. The “couple”, so to speak, could hardly communicate because Hadid does not speak Chinese. “The man often beat me,” she says. “To win his trust I decided to have a baby with the man.” In 1993, two months after the baby was born, Ha persuaded the man into letting her go back to Vietnam and see her parents. “I made him believe that my parents were seriously ill and wouldn’t live long,” she says.
In another case, Phạm Thị Minh T lives in the Mekong Delta, in south-western Vietnam. The young woman was duped and sold in China when she was 17 years old. There she was made to work in a brothel.