INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Hcmc Police Contact On Tip Concerns

Published: Fri 2 Mar 2007 08:34 AM
VZCZCXRO2847
PP RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHHM #0196 0610834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020834Z MAR 07
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2173
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 1556
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 2346
UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000196
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL CVIS KWMN TIP ELAB SMIG SOCI TW VM
SUBJECT: HCMC POLICE CONTACT ON TIP CONCERNS
REF: HCMC 90; B) 06 HCMC 437; C) 05 HCMC 1299
1. (SBU) On February 23, PolOff met with Colonel Hoang Tan
Viet, Deputy Director of Criminal Police of the HCMC
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) to follow up the status
of the investigation into an international trafficking-in-
persons ring that reportedly involved over 100 Vietnamese
women from the Mekong Delta and Tay Ninh province(ref B).
According to Colonel Viet, 13 traffickers associated have
been prosecuted in the case. The MPS has identified 73
additional individuals who are alleged to have participated
in the TIP ring as recruiters, transporters, and document
procurers. Of these 73 individuals, 13 reside outside of
Vietnam. As the investigation still is underway, he would
provide no further details at this point.
2. (SBU) Talking more generally about TIP trends, Colonel
Viet said the MPS is becoming increasingly concerned that
traffickers are exploiting marriages of Vietnamese women to
foreigners to conceal TIP. He said that the MPS now
believes that up to ten percent of the approximately 40,000
marriages in southern Vietnam between local women and
Taiwanese men since 1995 resulted in the women being sold
either into sexual slavery, forced into other marriages, or
otherwise exploited. In 2006, he said that MPS
investigated three cases in which Taiwanese men paid the
families of Vietnamese women USD 4,000 to marry the women.
Once the couples arrived in Taiwan, the men sold their
wives to brothels for USD 5,000. MPS learned about these
incidents from the women involved, who were able to escape
and file complaints with Vietnamese authorities. MPS is
working with Interpol to try and prosecute these men, but
have so far received no cooperation from Taiwanese
authorities, the Colonel noted. (Comment: Per ref C,
Taiwanese officials in HCMC acknowledged that, prior to
2005, they were lax in vetting marriages of Vietnamese
women to Taiwanese men. Since instituting much tougher
interview procedures, they asserted that the number of
fraudulent marriages has dropped sharply. End Comment.)
3. (SBU) Colonel Viet said that the MPS is compiling a
national composite list of women who have gone absent from
their legal residences for extended periods of time
"without proper reason." The list is based on inputs
submitted through the MPS chain of command from the local
provincial level. Another MPS contact estimated that
approximately 11,000 names are on the nationwide composite
list thus far.
4. (SBU) Viet said that international traffickers rely on
domestic counterparts to procure women in Vietnam. These
local counterparts usually are persons with criminal
records and traffic not only persons, but drugs and other
contraband. These domestic traffickers use recruiters, who
work in the local communities, transporters, who bring TIP
victims to HCMC and smuggle them out of Vietnam, and
document procurers, who obtain actual or fake travel
documents for TIP victims. Once out of Vietnam, the
international trafficker steps in to shepherd TIP victims
to their final destination. Viet confessed that, at this
point, MPS is limited to going after domestic traffickers
and their "satellites" because ringleaders flee, or reside
outside of, Vietnam.
5. (SBU) Viet stressed that GVN relies on bilateral
agreements for investigatory and judicial cooperation to
tracking down, arrest, and prosecute international
traffickers. Nevertheless, extradition and repatriation
remain difficult. For example, cooperation with Malaysia,
Colonel Viet complained, is slow in coming. In the Ref B
case involving roughly 100 women trafficked to Malaysia,
the GVN has sent several diplomatic notes to the GOM
seeking the repatriation of TIP victims, but thus far has
received no response.
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