COVID-19 Drives New Surge in Trafficking of Women From Laos to China

Economic hardship in Lao villages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a new surge in the trafficking to China of Lao women and girls desperate to find jobs, police and other sources in the Southeast Asian country say.

“Right now, our police department is working on more than 20 cases of underage Lao girls who were trafficked to China late last year or early this year,” a police officer in the Lao capital Vientiane told RFA’s Lao Service on July 2.

“They are being married to Chinese men, and are forced to sell sex and work hard. We’re trying to bring them back home to Laos,” the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“In addition, last month we were able to stop three under-18-year-old girls at the Laos-China Boten border check point from being trafficked into China,” the officer said.

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Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.