Moong Thi Ly, 32, is questioned at local police station in Nghe An Province Friday for taking a pregnant woman to China to sell her baby. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai
Moong Thi Ly is investigated for “organizing and/or coercing other persons to flee abroad,” a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail under Vietnam’s Penal Code. She is now pregnant and has been placed under house arrest.
Knowing that Moong Thi Mui, 24, around eight months pregnant, was struggling financially, Ly persuaded her to cross over the border to China to sell her newborn to unknown people for a large, but unspecified amount of money.
Then Ly helped Mui to get to mainland China via the Mong Cai border gate in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
On September 20, Mui was injured in a traffic accident in China and was hospitalized for treatment. Later, she gave birth to a boy.
Last month, Nghe An Police and Blue Dragon, a Hanoi-based non-profit organization working with street children and trafficking victims, organized a rescue operation and successfully brought Mui and her son home.
They filed a report with local authorities, petitioning for a probe into trafficking of newborns to China.
Ly is the second suspect placed under criminal investigation in the last few weeks in the baby sale operation. A similar probe was launched last month against Moong Thi Oanh, suspected of influencing to sell their newborns in China.
Nghe An, around 300 km (190 miles) south of Hanoi, has become a hotbed for human trafficking in recent years. The province found at least 27 pregnant women traveling to China to sell their newborns last year.
China, the most populous country, suffers from one of the worst gender imbalance rates in the world due to the one-child policy and illicit abortion of female fetuses by parents wanting male heirs.
This has led to rising kidnapping, tricking and trafficking of Vietnamese women and baby girls, and now, babies.
Besides the financial difficulties of the victims, experts have highlighted negligence, poor education, weak law enforcement and gender imbalance in destination countries as major factors driving human trafficking.