|All victims gather in the office of the Quảng Trị Province Border Guard. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Thuỷ|
QUẢNG TRỊ — Quảng Trị Province Border Guard on Tuesday successfully rescued 11 victims of forced labour in a gold mining area in the province.
On April 11, the Border Guard received a report from A Vao Commune in Đakrông District about six local people who were hired by Phước Minh Company to work at the Bãi Muối gold mine in Quảng Nam Province’s Phước Sơn District. Acording to the report, the six were suspected to be slaves.
After verifying the report, a rescue team was mobilised to Quảng Nam Province. On April 14, in collaboration with Quảng Nam Province Border Guard and Police, the rescue team approached the victims’ shelter at Đắc Min 3 Hydropower Plant in Phước Chánh Commune, Phước Sơn District, 60km away from the mining site.
The first five victims to be rescued are Hồ Văn Hùng (born, 1985), Hồ Văn Mây (1994), Hồ Văn Nêm (1995), Hồ Văn Huân (1998) and Hồ Văn Phích (1990).
In the following two days, from April 15 to 16, the forces rescued five other victims, identified as Hồ Văn Nân (1999), Hồ Văn Un (1997), Hồ Văn Hinh (1999), Hồ Văn Mông (1999) and Hồ Văn Mần (1999). On April 15, Quảng Trị Province Border Guard and Police worked with the leaders of Phước Minh Company on the company’s worker recruitment process and welfare policies for gold miners at the Bãi Muối Mining Site.
The company was asked to hand over documents related to the rescued workers as well as pay for them. At the meeting, the rescue forces demanded the company to hand over another worker named Hồ Văn Hựt (1998) belonging to Quảng Trị Province.
The victims said they had agreed to work as miners in Quảng Nam Province with a wage of VNĐ4-6 million (US$180 to 260) per month each due to abject poverty and struggles. Their working condition was terrible and meals were meagre, and they had no off days. Despite mining underground, they were not given any protective gear and equipment and were regularly beaten.
When their resignations were not approved, they escaped to a nearby forest on April 12. “Fortunately, one of us could get in touch with the border guard,” Hinh told the Vietnam News Agency.
Bùi Đình Lợi, head of the department of criminal investigation under Quảng Trị Province Border Guard, said the vast mountainous area in Quảng Nam Province and the wariness of the victims challenged the force’s efforts to approach and rescue them.
The victims are being treated at a local medical facility. — VNS