When Kiab turned 16, her brother promised to take her to a party in a tourist town in northern Vietnam. Instead, he sold her to a Chinese family as a bride.
The ethnic Hmong teenager spent nearly a month in China until she was able to escape her new husband, seek help from local police and return to Vietnam.
“My brother is no longer a human being in my eyes — he sold his own sister to China,” Kiab, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told AFP at a shelter for trafficking victims in the Vietnamese border town Lao Cai.
Vulnerable women in countries close to China — not only Vietnam but also North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar — are being forced into marriages in the land of the one-child policy, experts say.
China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as families prefer male children.
As a result millions of men now cannot find Chinese brides — a key driver of trafficking, according to rights groups.
The scantily dressed teenager stood on the hotel balcony taking nervous drags from her cigarette. She’d been in downtown Ottawa for almost two weeks, forced to have sex with a long line of men.
But on that warm summer night in 2011, one man standing outside her hotel room door had something very different in mind.
Ottawa police Det. Shane Henderson had received a tip from hotel staff about a 17-year-old girl they believed was a prostitute.
So the unassuming policeman did something that would change both their lives and pull back the curtain on the human-trafficking industry in the nation’s capital: He knocked on the door.
These are the stories of how the constable and the teenager met at a Cooper Street hotel and how their journey together would lead to Canada’s first human trafficking conviction involving an adult who had placed a child into prostitution.
The Hungarian-based gang trafficked at least 120 women into London where they were raped, beaten and forced to work in brothels across the capital.
The six gang members — led by Indian-born Vishal Chaudhary — are among 25 criminals convicted or jailed in the past month alone in a series of operations against Eastern European human trafficking gangs targeting London.
Police say there are an increasing number of joint inquiries with countries such as Poland, Hungary and Romania into prostitution and trafficking gangs.
Scotland Yard said there are at least seven live inquiries into crime groups bringing women into London.
In one operation with Romanian police, the first of its kind, 12 Romanian nationals were jailed for 89 years in their own country for bringing women to Britain to work in prostitution.
In another case earlier this week a Russian madam who ran a “high class” escort agency was jailed for eight years at Southwark crown court. Tatiana Shmyrova, 45, exploited a talented former Bulgarian athlete after she was lured to Britain with the promise of a new life working as a tour guide in London.
The Chaudhary gang trafficked more than 120 women from Hungary into the UK.
Black girls in the U.S. are too often left out of the public outcry against sexual exploitation, and instead are presented as “prostitutes” who “choose” to participate in the sex trade. Latent in our willingness to cast them as willing participants in this underground economy are racialized gender stereotypes about the hyper-sexualization of Black girls—a myth that was historically used to justify the rape of enslaved Black females, and which has since morphed into a stereotype about “fast” Black girls that renders them vulnerable to multiple forms of abuse.