Steps to Tier 1

A girl and her mother scrounge through garbage in Rach Gia, Vietnam. Some 200 families - three generations of Cambodians - live on two dumps there.

A girl and her mother scrounge through garbage in Rach Gia, Vietnam. Some 200 families – three generations of Cambodians – live on two dumps there.

Hope, opportunity, money, food… these are some of the reasons labor trafficking exists. Upon research, Vietnam has had a history of forced labor, but luckily has made an effort to reverse and enforce the laws on labor trafficking. Everyone: men, women, and children from Vietnam immigrate to contingent countries HOPING for an OPPPORTUNITY to make MONEY so that they can send it back home to buy FOOD and necessary commodities. They hope for a better life. They see this opportunity as another day to live. According to the U.S. Department of State, Vietnam is in Tier 2. As a Tier 2 country, Vietnam’s government “does not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.” However, this is progress. In 2011, the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report placed Vietnam in Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year. Criminals found violating the standards in Vietnam could be penalized from two to seven years in prison. Those for trafficking of children range from three years to life in prison. Personally, I don’t think three years is enough for trafficking children, but who am I to tell Trương Tấn Sang he’s wrong. As of last year, the government arrested 685 suspected traffickers. Of the 685, 472 were prosecuted and 413 were convicted. The sentences for these offenders ranged from three to fifteen years. This also showed progress from the previous year; the number of convicts decreased from 420 Three years ago, anti-trafficking amendments provided a criminal law basis to prosecute these crimes; prosecutors primarily pursued labor trafficking cases as administrative violations under the country’s labor laws, however, those do not provided criminal penalties. How can we be more efficient in rescuing those who are trafficked? Thankfully, officials continue to pursue in joint investigations and rescue operations in China, Cambodia, and Laos. Why just those three? I don’t know. Hopefully other countries will cooperate and will put an end to human trafficking. With further improvements, Vietnam could step up to the plate and be categorized as a Tier 1.

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