August 26, 2022
HÀ NỘI — -Việt Nam is actively working with Cambodian authorities to rescue and provide assistance to the Vietnamese nationals that have been scammed and smuggled illegally to Cambodia to work.
Lê Thị Thu Hằng, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam, made the remarks on Thursday in response to questions over growing incidences of human trafficking in Cambodia, involving Vietnamese citizens who have been tricked into working in questionable establishments in abhorrent working conditions in the neighbouring country.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has directed its representatives in Cambodia to work closely with Cambodian authorities and Vietnamese domestic authorities, especially of the localities bordering Cambodia, to assess and verify information, implement citizen protection measures, and provide assistance for citizens in need in a timely manner,” Hằng said.
About 500 Vietnamese citizens have been rescued and repatriated, and thousands of others have received support in terms of documentation and procedures, according to the spokesperson.
In the first six months of 2022, the Ministry of Public Security has busted many trafficking rings as well as promoted information on the risks of this form of labour.
Hằng said representatives of Việt Nam in Cambodia faced some difficulties in handling the cases as the support or rescue missions require close coordination with many different competent authorities, and many victims do not have identification documents as they crossed the border illegally, which makes it very time-consuming to verify their identities.
Vietnamese representatives have made every effort to hold meetings with Cambodian authorities as well as keep in contact with the Cambodian side to handle the cases, the spokesperson said.
The Vietnamese representatives in Cambodia will continue to work with Cambodian authorities and Vietnamese domestic administrations to step up consular and citizen protection efforts, and bring home Vietnamese nationals that have been scammed by illegal brokers to work in Cambodia, to ensure the citizens’ legitimate rights and interests, Hằng said.
Localities should also increase efforts in monitoring the situation and raising awareness of and warning Vietnamese people who seek jobs overseas, she said, adding that the media should also step up their reports on legal forms of labour export and strike down false information.
The most recent incident saw more than 40 Vietnamese breaking free from a casino in Cambodia to swim back to Việt Nam across a river in the south on August 18, 2022, who said they couldn’t work there any longer due to long hours with little to no payments for an online scam.
After receiving the information, Hằng said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia to work with the local authorities, requesting a prompt investigation into the case seeking the culpability of all those involved, increasing the surveillance over the entertainment establishments to detect similar cases that use illegal labour, to rescue victimised foreign workers, including Vietnamese nationals, that have been exploited and abused.
Vietnamese localities, especially those bordering Cambodia, should also enhance management of the border and cross-border travel between the two countries, to prevent and minimise cases of illegal migration, Hằng said.
On August 22, the Cambodian police detained the manager of the casino in question, and said it would help with the repatriation of 25 foreign workers who were at the site, including 11 Vietnamese nationals – one of which was captured by the casino’s guards in his attempt to flee to Việt Nam on August 18.
Spokesperson Hằng said in Việt Nam, the Consular Department has worked with domestic authorities to verify the identity of the returnees and implement citizen protection measures.
All 40 Vietnamese nationals that arrived in Việt Nam on August 18 are in stable health, and tested negative for COVID-19 and drugs, she said.
An Giang Province’s police have also provided support for the 40 people in returning to their hometowns.
The Vietnamese authorities will be closely following the case, and will be working with the Cambodian authorities to perform citizen protection measures in a timely manner, she noted. — VNS