Lao authorities in cooperation with the Lao Women’s Union have successfully assisted two young women who became victims of human trafficking.
The young women, aged between 14 and 16 years, were to be trafficked to China following a deal brokered between their parents and a trafficking organization.
According to sources close to the case, the victims’ parents were contacted by traffickers through text messages and told that their daughters could fetch up to LAK 40 million (USD 4,000) as a dowry if they traveled to China and married Chinese men.
The money was to be paid after the girls arrived in China.
The girls had not been attending secondary school due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while their parents admitted to having financial difficulties.
The young women traveled with a Lao couple, who acted as trafficking brokers, from Vientiane Capital to Luang Namtha on 12 June.
However, as they had exited Vientiane Capital illegally, the group was picked up by Luang Namtha authorities, tested for Covid-19, and placed in quarantine.
Mr. Jita Chanthalansy, a witness in the case, says the girls are from poor families in Hatsayfong District with large financial debts.
The brokers, a Lao couple, collected the two girls in Salakham Village, Hatsayfong District, assuring the victim’s parents that they would not need to pack any clothes or a mobile phone as new clothes and phones would be purchased for the girls, according to Mr. Jita.
“Although the girls did not want to go to China, they decided to do so in order to help support their families,” says Mr. Jita.
When the victims’ parents were unable to contact the brokers, they turned to Mr. Jita for assistance, who then coordinated with the Head of Salakham Village and the Lao Women’s Union of Vientiane Capital.
After authorities in Vientiane Captial contacted Luang Namtha officials, the girls were found at the quarantine center.
The girls are now safe and secure, according to Luang Namtha provincial officials, and will be able to return home after quarantine is complete.
The trafficking brokers have been arrested and authorities are currently conducting an investigation.