A gender imbalance in China has created a demand for Vietnamese brides. Because of this Vietnamese girls are being trafficked cross border to China and forced into marriage. Human traffickers target villages located on the border of China and Vietnam.
Image Source: CNN
Lao Cai, a victim of this kind of trafficking shares her story. Lan says she remembers the night which changed her life as the next morning she woke up in China. While preparing for university living along the border in north Vietnam, an online friend invited her to a group dinner. She was tired and wanted to go home but they asked her to stay, talk and have a drink.
The next thing from there she knew is that she was smuggled across the border.
CNN reports, the Vietnamese-Chinese border is a hunting ground for human traffickers. Girls even as young as 13 are drugged or fooled and smuggled since Vietnamese women are valuable commodities in China. The one-child policy of China and its preference for sons has drastically disrupted the gender ratio.
Chinese men are hungry for brides. But marrying a Chinese girl costs them a lot of money. They have to arrange an elaborate banquet and to purchase new home where they would live post marriage. This is why women are imported from neighbouring countries like Vietnam.
The Vietnamese girls are sold in China from some $3000 to whatever amount the other person is willing to pay. Vietnamese girls are considered very desirable due to their cultural similarities to the women in China.
Another girl, Nguyen, 16 was drugged by her friend’s boyfriend and smuggled to China. She even tried to resist a forced marriage but her traffickers beat her and deprived her of food. They even threatened to kill her. She stepped into a marriage and luckily her husband was a kind man. But, she always missed home.
The Pacific Links Foundation runs a shelter to help trafficked women like Lao Cai and Nguyen. The victims stay in this shelter for 2-3 years where they go to school, get vocational training, do art training and learn stuff like cooking or gardening. The shelter supports them to get back on their feet and find jobs.
Many girls have also been rescued by the Vietnamese police from being transferred across border. The police has rescued and helped 109 trafficking victims return home.