A human smuggling victim escaped from Cambodia and with the help of his friend apprehended his captor and brought the trafficker to justice.
The 25-year-old victim, named Phat, was one of 36-year-old Vo Le Hoai Dien’s 10 victims, according to prosecutors at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Tuesday.
Dien was sentenced to 12 years in prison for human trafficking later that day.
Phat, from the central province of Quang Ngai, came to Lam Dong Province to work as a gardener. He later discovered an online forum seeking people willing to sell their kidneys.
Phat needed money so he contacted the forum to see what it could offer. It was Dien who replied and told Phat that he could receive VND400 million ($17,019) for his kidney.
Phat made an agreement with Dien and asked a friend named Tam to accompany and take care of him after the surgery.
On September 3 last year, Phat and Tam traveled from Lam Dong to HCMC to meet Dien. The same day, Dien had a car drive Phat, Tam and three other people to the Cambodian border near the Thomo Border Gate in Long An Province. Five other people then brought the victims to Cambodia via an illegal border crossing.
They were subsequently brought to workplaces where they were forced into manual labor and threatened with whips. There was no kidney selling deal as the victims were promised.
Phat and his fellow victims managed to escape from the site by climbing fences a few days later, and everyone returned to Vietnam. Upon reaching HCMC, Phat requested help from a friend named Duong.
Duong had a friend pose as someone eager to sell a kidney and contact Dien. When Dien came to a meeting site at a supermarket in Tan Phu District, Phat and his friends incapacitated him and brought him to police.
In court, Dien said he did what he did as he needed money to pay off debts. He said he had been using his Facebook account to lure people into trafficking via the kidney ploy since 2021. He then smuggled the victims into Cambodia and “sold them to a man whose Zalo account is registered as “Phan Dau.”
For every person trafficked, Dien got VND15-20 million ($638-850) in return. Besides Phat and his friend, Dien also trafficked eight other people, gaining a total of VND180 million.