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Police Tackle Human Trafficking In Bokeo

Source: Vientiane Times

Police are working to help the victims of human trafficking in Bokeo province, with over 1,000 people thought to have been abused in this way up until September.

Deputy Director General of the Police Department at the Ministry of Public Security, Major General Kanchanh Phommachack, gave a report on the issue at a meeting held on Monday.

He noted the mechanisms in place to help victims of human trafficking through police forces at both the central and local levels.

Assistance was given to 1,255 workers at risk of human trafficking in Bokeo province prior to September 1, he said. This number included 493 women.

District Management Committees provided assistance to 869 people of 13 nationalities, while 138 people of eight nationalities were supported under the provincial Foreign Affairs Department.

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In addition, the provincial Police Department took steps to resolve the trafficking of 248 people of eight nationalities.

Laos is a country of origin and destination for human trafficking partly because of its geographical location, which makes it easy for citizens to travel and cross borders, both within Laos and to neighbouring countries.

Bokeo is located in the Golden Triangle area and shares borders with Thailand and Myanmar.

The current situation in Laos mostly involves people being tricked into forced labour, forcing them to provide sexual services, hiring pregnant women, and the live broadcasting of male and female nudity and sex on social media.

During attempts to help victims, police uncovered cases of people being exploited and not being paid wages as agreed; workers whose contract had expired and were then sold to another company; workers unable to complete their contract because of inability to work in bad conditions and long hours; and people who were in poor health.

These people wished to return home but their employers demanded that they refund the money paid for Covid tests and quarantine, work permits, and other fees.

Most workers had entered or departed a country illegally and did not have a passport, while some held passports but did not pass through immigration.

The Lao government has assigned the Ministry of Public Security through the National Anti-Trafficking Commission to instruct Bokeo province’s Police Department in the prevention of human trafficking in coordination with District Management Committees and related parties.

It has been proposed that a taskforce be appointed to formulate a plan of action to address the problems encountered in the province.