HA NOI – Ha Noi People's Court yesterday began the first trial in a case involving the biggest human trafficking ring ever uncovered in the country.
|Human trafficking defendants are standing trial. VNA/VNS Photo
In total, 29 defendants are standing trial, and ringleader Tran Hoang Anh, 42, from Hai Phong, is well known as a leading underworld figure. They are being charged with human trafficking, prostitution rackets and harboring criminals.
The ring had built a network that crossed Ha Noi and Hai Phong, and the northern border provinces of Lao Cai and Yen Bai, from where they sold young girls to partners in China.
The ring was busted in June 2010 when Hoang Anh's accomplice, Nguyen Thi Thuy, was attempting to transport 19-year-old Pham Thi Ngan from Ha Noi Railway Station to Lao Cai before heading to China. While he was waiting to buy tickets, Ngan shouted for help and Thuy was immediately arrested. Other members of the ring were arrested later.
It's reported the defendants used the same trick. They visited rural areas to meet young, innocent girls whom they seduced and bribed and then forced into prostitution.
From February 2009 to July 2010, Hoang Anh and his accomplices conducted 14 cases of women and children trafficking involving seven women and ten children, of whom two were smuggled across the border.
The police have rescued 15 victims, all of whom were under 16 years old.
On the first day of the trial, the defendants admitted their crime. However, most of them claimed that they did not know their actions had been illegal until they were arrested.
However, the defendants often lied about the girls' age, saying they were over 16 to appease brothel owners.
The trial is likely to last a week. -- VNS