November 17, 2006
President Bush is making an historic visit to Vietnam this weekend. While the agenda is crowded with discussion of trade, North Korea, Iraq, the War Against Terror and other issues, American Human Rights activists are pressing for the United States to make stronger statements about Vietnam's record on human rights.
Vietnam has many problems and one of the more serious for me is the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of poor women every year. Known for their extreme beauty and because in the Vietnamese culture the women are taught to care for the men, young Vietnamese women are prized "wives."
Men from mostly Korea and Taiwan (but certainly many other nations) pay fees to join associations which bring them to Vietnam to find such "wives." A Korean or Taiwanese man may meet as many as 300 young Vietnamese women in a day while visiting Vietnam.
He is interviewing them so that he can find a "wife." The time he takes for his decision may be only an elapsed few minutes. He pays a heavy toll to leave Vietnam with his "wife."
The women are motivated by the hope of finding a better life but this often doesn't happen.
Often the men lie about their income, careers, families and social standing to make themselves look more attractive. Once they get their Vietnamese "wives" back to Korea or Taiwan, they confiscate the young woman's passport, abuse her, force her into sex and generally treat these women with distain.
This situation of dealing in human trafficking is among the ugliest of human rights abuses.
The United States Department of State fights Human Trafficking.
"Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable and turn a commercial profit at the expense of innocent lives. The State Department's efforts to end this evil trade exemplify transformational diplomacy. We work with international partners to secure the freedom of those who are exploited and call on governments to be effective and accountable in prosecuting those who exploit.
The movement to end trafficking in persons continues to gain momentum, thanks to Presidential leadership, Congressional commitment, and support from innumerable faithbased, community, human rights, and women's groups, as well as from individual citizens. Thank you for joining this abolitionist movement on behalf of the world's most vulnerable citizens." -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
The State Deoartment's 2006 Report on Human Trafficking says: "Vietnam is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, the P.R.C., Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic for sexual exploitation."
For more information, the internet has a wealth of information on this issue.
2006 State Department Report