Monday, November 19, 2007

Vietnam: Overseas Workers Trapped in 'No-Rights' Zone

Cuong (L) sits waiting for his flight with his family at Hanoi airport

HANOI, VIETNAM - Vietnam sends tens of thousands of workers a year to Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and elsewhere, but unscrupulous operators trap many of them in conditions akin to slavery, experts say.

Countless Vietnamese women have been trafficked abroad for prostitution, but even more "guest workers" have found themselves in an equally mundane kind of hell -- exploited, abused and bankrupted.

"It's like indentured labour because of the debt that the workers have to take on," said Professor Daniele Belanger, director of the Population Studies Centre at the University of Western Ontario.

Overseas workers typically pay large fees and hand their passports to their new bosses, said Belanger, whose research team has interviewed Vietnamese migrant workers in Taiwan and South Korea, as well as dozens of returnees...


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