Child Labor Condition in Vietnam

Recent statistics have it that there are approximately more than 1.75 million Vietnamese children or 9.6 percent of the country’s population under 18 years of age are laborers.

Child labor condition in Vietnam consist of young and under-aged individuals who are coerced to work long hours, usually with little or no pay at all particularly in crowded factories or on agricultural farms. In fact, a third of those little children typically work an average of 42 hours a week, and majority of them are not able to attend school.

Child trafficking both domestically and internationally – is a major issue in Vietnam. According to a BBC report, trafficking gangs typically target rural villages where the children are being lured to be taken to cities to give them vocational training or technical skills. In such offers, parents would normally agree since in most remote areas, people aren’t very much aware about human trafficking. Moreover, labor traffickers benefit from the so-called “golden egg” culture of the country, where children are being sent to work abroad and then send money back for their families.

Unfortunately for the children, rather than undergoing vocational training, they are forced to work. While some are being sent to factories, others are in domestic and agricultural labor.

BBC even discussed a case of a young boy who was taken from one of the poorest rural village in the border of Vietnam and China.

BBC narrated that the boy was put in a small room along with 11 other children who were likewise taken from his village. They were forced to work from 6:00 AM until midnight without pay. They were also beaten with a stick if they committed a mistake. The boy managed to escape together with three other boys by jumping out of the third floor window one night. After fleeing from the traffickers, the boy sought help from the Blue Dragon Foundation, a Vietnam-based charity working to aid child trafficking victims.

However, despite the presence of charities and agencies like the Blue Dragon Foundation, rescuing hundreds of child trafficking victims, child labor brought by child trafficking still continues to remain a major problem and is in fact getting worse since a lot of people are making profits from it.

Moreover, despite the country’s effort to crack down on child trafficking, its control over the issue in the country still needs to increase.

It was only in 2011 when internal trafficking had been officially recognized in the country, and traffickers are usually not given harsh punishments. The trafficker who held the young boy and the 11 other children from the latter’s village was only fined with $500 and his factory was shut down, but he had never been summoned to court.

Apparently, confusion over what sort of punishment must be given to those who commit child trafficking in Vietnam comes from the fact that some child laborers are paid. Most often, traffickers usually argue that for a child who comes from a poor family and does not have enough to eat and had already dropped out of school, and eventually goes to a factory to be paid is not really a bad thing.

While there have been debates regarding internal trafficking in Vietnam, it has been more absolutely established that trafficking Vietnamese children needs to be stopped. According to the Guardians, Britain is one of the major destinations for traffickers sending Vietnamese child labors. Allegedly, more than 3,000 children are being sent to work on Cannabis farms, nail salons, garment factories, brothels or in domestic labor in Britain. Thus, in 2015, U.K. passed a bill which would increase the prosecution of traffickers and grant more rights to those children sent into modern slavery. Unfortunately for the children who are being sent to U.K. and coerced to work in cannabis cultivation, they are eventually being prosecuted while their traffickers remain at large.

Over the years, a lot of efforts have been done in an aim to halt child labor within the country and to stop the influx of Vietnamese children who are being sent into modern slavery across the globe. Apparently, in order to pursue the fight against child labor and human trafficking in Vietnam, its laws have to be more strictly enforced and clear conditions have to be set regarding how to punish those traffickers.

Lei Hoang


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