Lao Villages Fall Victim to Chinese Human Trafficking

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human trafficking in lao villages

It is not uncommon to see reports on human trafficking in the news. We read stories about it happening even in the most powerful nations across the globe. And though there are whispers about it happening in the sleepy little country of Laos, most don’t realize how common it has become in the land-locked country.

Northern villagers in various areas have reported Chinese men entering their villages under the guise of being wealthy, eligible suitors looking for a bride to take home and care for. Girls as young as 16 and 17 are being enticed  to drop out of school and willingly take a husband based on the promise of a better life in China.

However, when they arrive in China, the unfortunate girls are sold into brothels and forced into prostitution.They come from all over the country, the South, the center and Vientiane

The victims are not just restricted to northern Laos, where the land-locked nation borders China, but also the southern and central provinces, and occasionally the capital itself.

These men prey on poor villages and are seeking naive school girls who believe that all Chinese men are rich. The school girls are convinced they will be going to China or another part of Laos where they will get married, but are typically  forced into the sex trade.

A small, possibly increasing, number of women and girls from Laos are sold as brides in China and subjected to sex trafficking,, according to a  US government report on trafficking in persons.

One resident of  Pak Lai District Xayaboury Province spoke of a girl who had finished high school and met a Chinese man who had visited her village. The man told her he loved her, and then made arrangements with a middle-man. Soon after they were engaged, and the man took her to China where she only contacted her family with an occasional message, and her whereabouts were unknown and untraceable.

It was later learned that she was sold to a brothel.

An NGO official has addressed this issue and has stated that it’s unknown how many cases are like this, since there has never been a survey taken.

In her village at least eight girls have gone to China. One girl who left three months ago has never contacted her worried parents.

“Many, many Chinese men come to our village looking for brides,” the villager said. “Some of the girls come back to the village, and a few of them come with one or two babies, but without their Chinese husbands.”

Laos and China  signed an anti-human trafficking memorandum of understanding in 2014, and the  two  countries have devised an action plan to take a stand against human trafficking.

Although the girls who left behind their friends and families were just looking for love, or at least a husband, those who have returned to their villages have understandingly had enough of China.

“These girls say they don’t want to go back to China,” said the villager.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Very sad. Another case of the weak & vunerable being taken advantage of. I’m glad the 2 countries signed a non human trafficking memorandum/treaty and hope China seriously do something about it. Investigate and punish those that are found guilty to the fullest extent

  2. why laotiantimes deleted from wiki?? i search in deletewiki. com and found your newpaper founded by american!

    The Laotian Times was originally founded by Stanford University alumnus, Francis Savanhkham in 2016.

  3. They are scam combodian and vietnamese women too special young girls they are so bad and evil you guys see be careful with chineses people to enter your country they did all the bad and horrible things

    • I was in Huoay Xai in Laos in 2012, with my then 22 year old son. I was 52 years old. We had crossed the border between Thailand and Laos because the terms of our visas required that we leave the country and come back. However, since we were there in Laos, we wanted to explore it. We stayed in that small village for about a week. There was once curious incident which has never left me, and that was the (gentle) approach by an unusually well-dressed, crispy-clean but casual (because we’re in the tropics) man. He was particularly handsome and his English was excellent. He approached me in a local restaurant, which was open-air and absolutely “casual”. His demeanor and his excellent English opened me up to talking. However, I never took anything he said at its face value because he was so out of place and his interest in me was so high. He invited me to his “place” in China, and I of course agreed that it would be a great opportunity for me and my son. He told me he was in Laos for “rubber”. I enjoyed him, but in that way that you enjoy someone because they’re interesting at that moment, but you know you never want to see them again.
      I had laughed when my mother was afraid that I could be kidnapped for human trafficking purposes (I was 52!), when I went on my first trip in 2012. But there is a serious mistake in the conversation about human trafficking: it’s not limited to young good-looking girls, or young girls, or girls. Young BOYS are being trafficked like there’s no tomorrow!!!! Boys, girls, they don’t care. And I got the feeling they don’t care if you’re 52. As long as you’re breathing.