INL, IOM and UNICEF launch a partnership to strengthen justice for children in Viet Nam and enhance Viet Nam’s national capacity to combat human trafficking and smuggling

14 June 2022

Hanoi, 14 June 2022 -- The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of United States Department of State, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced a three-year partnership to support Viet Nam’s government in strengthening systems to better protect children from violence, whilst effectively tackling human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

INL and the U.S. Mission to Vietnam are proud to work with the Vietnamese government, IOM, and UNICEF to support a new project that will seek to protect the most vulnerable and precious members of our societies.  By increasing protections for children, we also safeguard the future of our nations,” said INL Assistant Secretary Todd D. Robinson during his visit to Vietnam from Washington, D.C.

INL Assistant Secretary Todd D. Robinson at the launching event for the partnership between INL, IOM, and UNICEF
UNICEF Viet Nam\Vu Le Hoang
INL Assistant Secretary Todd D. Robinson at the launching event of partnership between INL, IOM, and UNICEF

In 2020, the Government of Viet Nam estimated that the number of children subject to various forms of abuse, including violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, abandonment, and neglect, accounted for approximately five per cent of the child population in Viet Nam.[1]  Given that the global evidence confirms that children who have come into contact with the justice or welfare systems are at increased risk of trafficking and exploitation – attention to this vulnerable population is recognized as essential and urgent. According to 2021 statistics provided by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Public Security, 40 per cent of the total number of trafficked victims identified were children.

Disturbingly, evidence suggests that with the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of children facing increased vulnerability has grown. This includes children in families that have experienced livelihood challenges; increased levels of violence and gender-based violence in homes; increased numbers of children who have dropped out of school in order to try to support their families. Evidence also confirms that vulnerable children are indeed being targeted by traffickers at the local level, as well as on-line.

This programme puts the safety, the protection of girls and boys from abuse, exploitation and trafficking at the top of the agenda. Our goal in coming together is to strengthen justice for children, to facilitate a strengthened protective net and support system around children and their families, in the communities where they live - that is far more effective at supporting the most vulnerable, preventing human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants in and from Viet Nam. Evidence confirms that children who have come into contact with the justice or welfare systems are too often left feeling lost and disempowered, and this in turn increases their vulnerability to traffickers.  There are key drivers that make children more susceptible – and our goal is not to work with just one part of the system – but to introduce a system-wide approach that identifies, prevents and acts to hold perpetrators accountable,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative.

Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative at INL, IOM and UNICEF launching partnership event
UNICEF Viet Nam\Vu Le Hoang
Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative at launching event of partnership between INL, IOM and UNICEF

Despite progressive law reform over the past decade, there continues to be a need for comprehensive child justice reforms that bring consistency across the different laws relating to children and to strengthen key area related to the care and protection of children. A comprehensive child justice law would provide a solid foundation for a separate and distinct child justice system and would ensure that existing legislative loopholes and gaps are addressed. Such gaps include: prohibiting and penalizing all forms of abuse and violence against children; providing victim support services; and enabling children’s effective participation in criminal proceedings to claim their rights and demand justice.

While strong laws are essential, the programme recognizes that equal attention must be given to ensuring the effective implementation of those laws.  With this in mind, the collaboration will bring an increased focus to comprehensive capacity building, to ensure a shifting of mindsets and approaches – working directly with those who are in a position to support and better protect children, particularly those within the broad justice sector. “It is crucial to equip police, border guards, judges, lawyers and court personnel with essential knowledge and skills on child-friendly and gender-sensitive criminal judicial techniques and procedures. Effective prevention and combat against human trafficking and migrants smuggling require institutionalization of staff capacity building with sufficient resource allocation to ensure all staff are trained to conduct their tasks in a victim-centered and trauma-informed manner”, said Park Mihyung – Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration in Viet Nam.

Park Mihyung – Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration in Viet Nam at the launching event
UNICEF Viet Nam\Vu Le Hoang
Park Mihyung – Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration in Viet Nam at the launching event of partnership between INL, IOM and UNICEF

The three-year project aims to achieve its objective through a three-pronged approach:

  • Improving legal and policy framework for protection of minors in contact with the law in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international treaties to which Viet Nam is a party.
  • Strengthening capacity of law enforcement, including border guards, and justice officers for improved investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cases involving child victims, especially child survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking
  • Enhancing access of children victims of abuse to timely and quality protection services.

The project will be implemented in close coordination with Vietnamese government partners.

INL, IOM and UNICEF launch a partnership to strengthen justice for children in Viet Nam and enhance Viet Nam’s national capacity to combat human trafficking and smuggling
UNICEF Viet Nam\Vu Le Hoang


[1] Report 217/BC-CP of the Government dated 14 May 2020 on the implementation of laws and policies pertaining to prevention and combat violence against children
 


For further information, please contact:

  • Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, UNICEF Viet Nam, Tel: +84 24 3850 0225, +84 (0)904154678; Email: ntthuong@unicef.org
  • Ms. Doyen Yun, IOM Viet Nam, Tel: +84 24 3850 1813, Email: dyun@iom.int

Media contacts

Ms Raquel Fernandez
Chief of Communication and Advocacy
UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: +84 (024) 3850 0100
Tel: +84 (0)98 549 9748
Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
Advocacy and Communications Specialist
UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: +84 (024) 38500225
Tel: +84 (0)904154678

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/covid-19

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam

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