Saturday May 25, 2019
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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

Amid Intensifying US China Trade Dispute, Indian Exporters Eye Gains

Orient Craft’s new unit in Jharkhand, one of India’s least developed states, will employ about eight thousand workers

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Orient Craft, one of India's largest apparel exporters, says it could benefit from increased business as the US-China trade war intensifies. This building in Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi houses its office and one of its garment units. VOA

As work on establishing a massive garment-manufacturing unit by one of India’s leading apparel exporters enters the final stages, the company is optimistic about keeping the machines humming. Slated to begin production in August, Orient Craft’s new unit in Jharkhand, one of India’s least developed states, will employ about eight thousand workers.

Inquiries from buyers in the United States, its biggest market, have increased in recent months as a trade dispute with China intensifies, according to A.K. Jain, who heads the Commercial department at Orient Craft. That is why he is upbeat about generating new business. “This is an unbelievable blessing in disguise,” he says. “It will give us an edge.”

Exporters in India are reaping the benefits of the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies as business with both countries jumps, according to Ajai Sahai, who heads the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

“While overall exports have gone up by nine percent, exports to the U.S. have gone up by 13 percent and to China by 32 percent,” he says. And as the confrontation escalated last week after the two countries failed to reach a deal, his optimism increased. “Since the tariff hike is now substantial from 10 to 25 percent we feel we will have more advantage in market access.”

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A slowdown in the Indian economy is being attributed to a drop in consumption by an affluent middle class. VOA

India is among a handful of countries set to benefit from the U.S.-China trade dispute, a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development stated in February. “The saying ‘it’s good to fish in troubled waters’ could apply to some bystander nations,” the report said, pointing out that most of the Chinese exports subject to U.S. tariffs will be captured by firms in third countries.

While China has opened its doors wider to a range of agricultural products from India such as rice and sugar, exports to the United States have increased in areas such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, auto components and apparel.

“In various products we were losing out to China with a very narrow margin. With the hike, we are able to offset that,” says Sahai. “That is why the tariff war has presented us an opportunity to enter markets in the U.S. in some areas we were hardly penetrating.”

But even as Indian exports benefit, trade experts warn that clouds are also gathering over New Delhi’s trade relationship with Washington. In recent months, U.S. President Donald Trump has slammed Indian duties on some U.S. goods, saying that India is not providing “equitable and reasonable access” to its markets.

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Economists also warn that an eventual slowdown in global trade due to the U.S.-China trade spat will hit all countries including India, which is already staring at an economic slowdown

Growth in the world’s fastest growing major economy flagged to 6.6 percent in the last quarter of 2018 – it’s lowest in more than a year. It is not expected to fare much better this year.

The slump is blamed on slackening domestic consumption, which powers the Indian economy. Unlike East Asian countries, which have raced ahead on the back of exports, growth momentum in India is largely based on an affluent middle class snapping up goods such as cars, refrigerators, air conditioners and other consumer goods.

But there are concerns as automobile sales, the barometer of consumption, plunged to the lowest in nearly eight years in recent months.

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Like other carmakers, the Hyundai showroom in Gurgaon has witnessed a decline in sales of cars in recent months. VOA

At the Hyundai car showroom in the upscale business hub of Gurgaon, near Delhi, a range of swanky models beckon customers, but there are few to be seen. This is in marked contrast to the last three years when buoyant automobile sales helped India overtake Germany to become the world’s fourth largest automobile market. That prompted car makers such as Hyundai, Honda and Toyota to expand their presence in the country.

“In recent years, March and April used to be good months. But now 20 to 30 percent drop is there in these months also,” says Gagan Arora, business head at the Hyundai showroom. “There is a slowdown in the whole industry. New buyers are not being added so frequently.”

Economists say while rising exports to the United States and China present a silver lining, the first challenge facing India’s new government due to take office after vote counting in elections is completed this week, will be how to restore overall momentum to the economy and see why consumers are not so willing to open their wallets. (VOA)