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Official Gazette

Friday, October 7, 2022

Lawmakers vet human trafficking bill

Updated: 11:07’ - 28/09/2010

Members of the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) on August 23 debated the latest (seventh) draft of the Anti-Human Trafficking Law, focusing on how to define human trafficking activity and provide supports for human trafficking victims.

Human trafficking, under the draft law, is understood as any of the following activities: transferring and receiving persons or recruiting, transporting and harboring human beings for transfer by the use of force, the threat to use force or other forms of abduction, deception, abuse of power or abuse of a position of vulnerability or by giving money or other material benefits to victims for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, removal of organs or other inhuman purposes.

Chairwoman of the NA’s Justice Committee Le Thi Thu Ba argued that the range of crimes covered by the draft law was narrower than that prescribed in the Penal Code and, therefore, regulations on the trade of humans must be further detailed. 

Meanwhile, some legislators stressed the need to clarify which types of buying and selling human beings should be subject to penal liability. Some parents had to sell their children out of sheer poverty, and there were wealthy childless couples wanting to buy children, they said, suggesting that in such cases, only administrative penalties be imposed.

As provided in the draft law, human trafficking victims would be provided with comprehensive assistance, covering daily necessities, healthcare, counseling and education. The draft law also mentions the provision of emergency aid to new returnees, including loans and legal protection.

While stressing the need to provide support to returnees, NASC members said the lack of financial sources might make these regulations impractical.

Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the NA’s Finance and Budget Committee, said the range of victims that the draft law deals with was “too broad” and that the state budget would be unable to handle it.

“I agree that there should be assistance for victims but it should have some limit and be suitable to our budget,” said Mr. Hien. The draft law, therefore, should lay out more eligibility requirements for assistance.

In response to the concerns, Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said the draft law has been designed in favor of victims but anyone who was found to have wrongfully benefited from assistance would be punished and would have to refund the money given to them.

The 52-article draft law also provides several anti-human trafficking measures, including tightening control over business and service activities which might be abused for human trafficking purposes, monitoring social order and security and integrating anti-human trafficking contents into socio-economic development and anti-crime programs.

The draft law will be further modified and discussed again at the next NASC meeting later this year before it is submitted to the National Assembly for passage next year.-



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