May 12, 2007
June 12, 2006
Thousands of Vietnamese women, mostly poor and uneducated, are illegally leaving the country to marry foreigners, a senior police official said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City Saturday.
Nguyen Viet Thanh, deputy head of police, said, however, he was not concerned with legitimate “love” marriages with foreigners. But many of the so-called marriages were actually cases of human trafficking in disguise.
“Those illegally leaving Vietnam and marrying foreigners often fall prey to prostitution rings and are sometimes sold as commodities,” said Thanh who is attending a two-day meeting in Ho Chi Minh City to consider toughening laws to prevent such marriages.
“There are cases in which a Vietnamese woman has to be the wife of many members of the same family. She is treated very badly.”
According to information presented at the conference organized by the Vietnam’s Women’s Union, since 1998 nearly 87,000 Vietnamese women have married foreigners. Of them, 10,700 left the country illegally for the purpose.
Vietnamese nationals are free to travel abroad but if they plan to get married the law requires them to first register. It is also illegal to leave on a tourist visa and not return.
Endemic poverty in rural areas makes Vietnamese women particularly vulnerable to dubious marriage offers. Many who go abroad are forced into prostitution.
Others end up essentially as unpaid scullery maids for their new families. Their problems are made worse because they are unable to speak the language and do not understand their adopted country’s culture or laws. Very often, they have a difficult time seeking help or returning home.
Police in Vietnam say many of the marriages are being arranged through illegal brokerage services and websites. Most of the women go to the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China.
Between 2003 and the first quarter of 2005, there had been 31,800 cases of whom 70 percent had gone to Taiwan, the conference also heard.
“These women are from poor rural areas and they have limited access to education,” Thanh said. “They go abroad hoping to change their life for the better.”
Vietnam has now set up marriage support centres in five urban areas to provide advice on married life, including information on the pros and cons of being a Vietnamese bride abroad.
Viet Act, News Report, Staff, Jun 10, 2006
The annual "Trafficking in Persons" (TIP) report examines trafficking problems in 150 countries. The report is focused on raising public awareness of the global trafficking problem and encouraging governments to combat the problem. This year's TIP Report includes more coverage of labor slavery, especially internal labor trafficking, forced labor, and involuntary servitude. Regarding Vietnam, the TIP report states “Women from Vietnam are trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages for sexual exploitation and labor.” It also states that “the government of Vietnam does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” and that “Vietnam has not made sufficient efforts to combat trafficking.”
The 2006 TIP Report also recognizes Reverend Hung V. Nguyen, a founding member of VietACT, as a “Hero Acting to End Modern Day Slavery” for his efforts with the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and Brides Office to rescue, shelter, and rehabilitate victims of both labor and sex trafficking. This is good news especially to the newly formed Vietnamese Alliance to Combat Trafficking (VietACT) whose most recent efforts have been focused on working collaboratively with Father Peter Nguyen Van Hung, director of the Taiwan ACT office, to help the plight of thousands of Vietnamese brides as well as migrant workers in Taiwan.
Formed in August 2004 by a group of concerned students and young professionals, VietACT is a grassroots organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking of Vietnamese victims through collaboration, advocacy, and education, for the purpose of supporting, protecting and empowering victims. The organization has work with numerous volunteer and student organizations including the Union of North American Student Associations, Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, Cambodia Family, St. Anselm's Cross Cultural Center, Union of Vietnamese Students Association of Southern California, Denver Vietnamese Women Association, Vietnamese Professional Society, Asian American Women Alliance, Loyola University School of Social Work, and Illinois Vietnamese Student Union. VietACT will continue to work collaboratively to bring greater awareness to the issue combating human trafficking and support for the victims.
For more information on VietACT and its efforts or to see the full TIP Report, visit VietACT’s homepage at http://www.vietact.org.
June 11, 2006
10 June 2006
HANOI – Thousands of Vietnamese women, most of them poor and uneducated, are illegally leaving the country to marry foreigners, a senior police official said on Saturday.
Nguyen Viet Thanh, deputy head of the police under the Ministry of Public Security, said he was not concerned with legitimate “love” marriages with foreigners. But many of the so-called marriages are actually cases of human trafficking in disguise.
“Those illegally leaving Vietnam and marrying foreigners often fall prey to prostitution rings and are sometimes sold as commodities,” said Thanh who is attending a two-day meeting in Ho Chi Minh City that is looking at how to toughen laws to prevent these marriages. “There are cases in which a Vietnamese woman has to be a wife for many members of the same family. She is treated very badly.”
According to information presented at the conference that is being sponsored by the Vietnam’s Women’s Union, since 1998, nearly 87,000 Vietnamese women have married foreigners. Of that number, 10,700 left the country illegally to do so.
Vietnamese nationals are free to travel abroad but if they plan to get married they must first register. It is also illegal to leave on a tourist visa and not return.
Endemic poverty, particularly in rural areas, means that Vietnamese women are particularly vulnerable to dubious marriage offers. Many who go abroad are forced into prostitution.
Others end up essentially as unpaid scullery maids for their new families. Their problems are made worse because they are unable to speak the language and do not understand their adopted country’s culture or laws. Very often they have a difficult time seeking help or returning home.
Police in Vietnam say many of the marriages are being arranged through illegal brokerage services as well as websites advertising brides for sale. Most of the women are going to South Korean, Taiwan, Malaysia and China.
“These women are from poor rural areas and they have limited access to education,” said Thanh. “They go abroad hoping to change their life for the better.”
Vietnam has now set up Marriage Support Centres in five urban areas to provide advice on married life, including information on the pros and cons of being a Vietnamese bride abroad.
Since 2003, the 36-year-old woman named Nguyen Tuyet Chinh from Hanoi capital and her 42-year-old husband, Nguyen Thanh Son, have cheated 20 local girls from several northern localities of going to Macao to get well-paid jobs. For each girl, they received, on average, 17,500 U.S. dollars from brothels in Macao.
The police have identified four underlings of Chinh and Son, including two Vietnamese people and two persons from China's Hong Kong. They are further probing into the case.
March 22, 2006
Britain cracks down on forced marriages
By Robin Millard
London – Troubled by the number of youngsters of South Asian origin being forced into marriage, Britain has launched an assault on a practice that is pushing many vulnerable teenagers into a living nightmare.
Marriages without consent, or their refusal, have led to suicides and honour killings in Britain, shocking a nation generally deemed to have successfully absorbed immigrant communities and practices.
“Younger British Asian women are increasingly self-harming and attempting suicide at rates two to three times above the national average,” said Jasvinder Sanghera, 40, who helped found a refuge for South Asian women years after fleeing her own family rather than accepting a forced marriage.
|‘It’s an absolutely horrendous wrench’|
“My family said: ‘Marry him or be dead in our eyes’,” she recalled.
As part of the British government’s campaign, ministers this month unveiled emotional film clips, in English and Hindi, to raise awareness on the issue.
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government argues that such forced – as distinct from an accepted arranged marriage – is a form of domestic violence and child abuse and a transgression of human rights. It is even considering whether to criminalise forced marriage.
Most of the cases concern people of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. But there are many others in Britain with ties around the world, notably to Arab states, the Balkans and West Africa, being forced into marriages.
“The people coming forward for help know the perpetrators are the people who are supposed to love them. It’s an absolutely horrendous wrench,” Sanghera said.
|‘She said she had been taken against her will’|
She said there was a “strong preference” within families of victims she helps to look for suitable husbands “back home”, with the young woman easing the groom’s passage into Britain as part of the deal.
Her Karma Nirvana refuge in Derby, central England, takes an average 40 support calls a month, and over 70 percent of her clients have issues relating to forced marriage.
She advocates warning children of the dangers in schools before they start to come under family pressure.
Sanghera recalled how, at the age of 14, she was shown a photograph of the man she was due to marry.
“They deprived me of my freedom. I suffered the emotional and physical abuse, and I ran away.
“You feel guilty, depressed and very isolated. You lose your family overnight and you are a victim made to feel like the perpetrator,” she said.
The only current legal recourse concerning forced marriages is arresting people for offences such as rape and kidnap.
The Forced Marriages Unit – set up by the Home Office and Foreign Office – has dealt with more than 1 250 cases brought forward by troubled spouses or relatives since it started in 2000.
However, the FMU, which undertakes rescue missions in extreme cases, fears the true number may be far higher.
Sufian Miah said he was 20 when a cry for help from his terrified girlfriend Shipa landed in his letter box. It had been written on a tissue in an aeroplane toilet as her family took her to Sylhet in eastern Bangladesh with a view to a forced marriage.
Now his wife, Shipa, from west London, was 18 when she was bundled on the flight. She secretly handed the tissue to an air hostess as a desperate last resort.
“She said she had been taken against her will, her life was in danger and she didn’t want to go back,” said 31-year-old Miah, from Bromley in south-east London.
“Her mental state was absolutely gone. Her independence had been taken away.”
“Devastated, angry and frustrated”, he called every number he thought could help, from local MPs to Amnesty International, and flew to Bangladesh in a bid to rescue her.
He found her by chance at the house of one of her cousins and spoke to her through a window, vowing to get her out.
He said the Bangladeshi police issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of kidnap.
He took her case to the Bangladeshi Supreme Court. “Eventually her family had no choice but to give up,” Miah said.
British Asian actor Ameet Chana, 30, who starred in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham and the BBC television soap EastEnders and helps campaign on the issue, was shocked that 15 percent of the Forced Marriages Unit’s cases were men.
“If you’re a bloke, a bit macho, how can you come forward and tell someone you’re in a forced marriage?” he said.
“They are taking place under our noses in this country. It’s good to stay traditional, but forced marriage is not part of any culture.”
Published on the Web by IOL on 2006-03-22 06:50:52
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