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Seeking Help From Lao Authorities To Get Home Safely: Interview

The woman stranded in Hunan is among 3,000 Laotians known to have been trafficked to China in recent years according to the Lao National Anti-Human Trafficking Commission, which said last October that only 600 of those women have returned home.

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Thai authorities collect identification information from suspected sex workers who were detained during a raid on karaoke bars in Muang Narathiwat, a district in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

25-year-old Lao woman from near the capital Vientiane was trafficked to central China’s Hunan Province in late 2018 and sold to a Chinese man for $20,000. She issued an appeal through social media for help getting home and gave an interview to RFA’s Lao Service on April 30, describing how she was misled by traffickers, including a relative, to expect a relatively high-paying job in China, taken across the Lao-China border illegally, married off to a Chinese man who bought her, and then left to fend for herself without proper travel documents. On the same day that RFA spoke to the woman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her and her family from traffickers, twelve young Lao women, including two that authorities believe were under the age of 18, were rescued from a karaoke bar in the southern Thai province of Narathiwat. The woman stranded in Hunan is among 3,000 Laotians known to have been trafficked to China in recent years according to the Lao National Anti-Human Trafficking Commission, which said last October that only 600 of those women have returned home.

RFA: How did you end up in China?

A: They, the traffickers, lied to me. I came here without any documents. I don’t have ID and I don’t have a passport. They drove me to somewhere near the Boten border gate, then took me across a mountain border.

RFA: So, you crossed the border illegally?

A: Yes, they illegally took me across a mountain, not through the border check point.

RFA: Why did you go with them? What did they say to you?

A: They said they’ll take me here to work. It’s easy; I can go home anytime. If I want to go home, they’ll take me home. I believed them. But once they sold me to a Chinese man who later became my husband, I couldn’t contact them anymore. I didn’t receive any money. I can’t go home because I have nothing in the way of documents.

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My relative at home has asked for money from the traffickers many times; but they keep saying “next month; next month.” Pixabay

RFA: Did you report this to Lao police?

A: My family is too afraid to contact police because they (the traffickers) are now in Laos.

RFA: Who are the traffickers?

A: One of them is a Lao woman who told me that she had relatives in China, and said that work in China was not heavy. I thought I’d make a lot of money, then send it to my mother.

RFA: Did they the traffickers talk to your family first?

A: Yes, they talked to my mother. Actually, one of the traffickers is my relative.

RFA: Is your relative a middle-man or -woman?

A: Yes, she is actually the ‘small wife’ (misstress) of a Chinese man who brought me here to China.

 

RFA: What happened to you in China?

A: They sold me to a Chinese man who wanted to have a Lao wife.

RFA: How does your husband treat you?

A: We lived together as a normal couple, and sometimes I’d go to work. But later, when I wanted to go back home, I couldn’t and I could not contact those front men at all.

RFA: Why can’t you go home?

A: Because I don’t have any documents. That’s why I’m asking for help from an organization called ‘Sisters for Laotians’.

RFA: Are there any other victims like you in China?

A: Three of us came together. One of us, who is my cousin, was able to escape last month, and now she is already in Laos. The other woman is also trying to escape as well. There are many other Laotians around here. Most of them are illegal. Some have passports, but the passports are expired, so they became illegal now.

RFA: How do you communicate with your husband?

A: I don’t speak Chinese, so, we use a telephone (app) to translate.

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Yes, she is actually the ‘small wife’ (misstress) of a Chinese man who brought me here to China. Pixabay

RFA: Do you personally know the traffickers?

A: Yes, I know them, but I can’t contact them now.

RFA: What are you going to do once you get home?

A: I’m going to report to the police that the traffickers promised me that I’ll get a salary of more than 1,000 Yuan ($150) a month. I now get nothing.

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RFA: How much were you sold for?

A: For 130,000 yuan ($20,000), but some others may fetch 150,000 Yuan. I received no money, and I don’t have any money to send to my mother. My relative at home has asked for money from the traffickers many times; but they keep saying “next month; next month.”

RFA: Why didn’t you report this to Chinese police?

A: The police would send me back to my husband. That’s why I’m requesting help from Lao authorities and hoping they can get me home safely. (RFA)

Next Story

Restricting AI Research with China Harmful: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes

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China is a leading force in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and blocking AI research with the country will do more harm than good for humanity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

In an interview with the BBC, Nadella said that despite national security concerns, backing out of China would “hurt more” than it solved.

“A lot of AI research happens in the open and the world benefits from knowledge being open,” he said.

Quoting Microsoft President Brad Smith, Nadella said: “We know any technology can be a tool or a weapon. The question is, how do you ensure that these weapons don’t get created? I think there are multiple mechanisms.”

Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s fundamental research arm in the Asia Pacific region, was founded in Beijing in November 1998.

The media reported in April alleged that Microsoft has been collaborating with researchers linked to a Chinese military-backed university on AI. The research covered several AI topics, such as face analysis and machine reading.

Microsoft defended the research, saying that it was part of a worldwide effort by its scientists “to work with their international counterparts on cutting-edge technology issues”, reported the Financial Times.

Microsoft
Microsoft doesn’t use customers’ data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Nadella, they have control on who gets to use their technology.

“And we do have principles. Beyond how we build it, how people use it is something that we control through Terms of Use. And we are constantly evolving the terms of use,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China was triggering a global economic slowdown.

On September 1, the US followed through on plans to impose a 15 per cent tariff on certain Chinese consumer-goods imports including apparel, electronics, footwear and dairy products, that were valued at around $112 billion in 2018.

Those tariffs were in addition to 25 per cent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that began to be imposed on July 2018.

Also Read: iPhone 11 Pro: Seamless Productivity with Creativity (Tech Review)

US President Donald Trump’s administration said that it would wait until December 15 to impose tariffs, now set at 15 per cent, on certain mass-consumption products imported from China, including smartphones, laptops, video games and toys.

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes. (IANS)