Municipal chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has asked the Hanoi Police Department to investigate an alleged teenage prostitution racket involving school girls in Ba Vi District.
The directive, sent Tuesday, followed the airing of an exposé by national broadcaster Vietnam Television earlier this week.
The operation was busted by an NGO that wished to remain anonymous to protect future campaigns.
Several of the ring’s victims, aged 14-15, said they were tricked into prostitution after being promised simple jobs like waiting tables. Some said they were forced to have sex with no protection.
One of them recalled the first time she was forced to have sex with two men in a hotel in Ha Dong District.
“He pushed me on the bed. When I resisted, he told me to go outside the room, where Nga would like to tell me something.
“Nga pushed me into another room that she’d just came out of. There was already a man there. I was too afraid at that point, so I did [what she asked].” Nga told the victim that she would not be allowed to go away from him if she did not submit a replacement.
Nga is an eleventh grader in a local high school.
The man in question reportedly paid VND10 million ($431) after the deed. The victim was given VND500,000.
“Nga gave me VND2 million. But Quynh took VND1 million, and Hien took VND500,000.”
Another victim said she was not paid a dime, even though her client paid VND5 million.
Victims said they were taken long distances, possibly dozens of kilometers, on different vehicles, to service the men.
“I tried to push him away, but I couldn’t. He locked the door, I tried to run but couldn’t,” one victim said.
Another one, who managed to escape by asking the taxi driver to stop the car then bolting out, said she was repeatedly coerced into prostitution again afterwards.
She said she tried to resist each time, but was forced into having sex and threatened severe reprisals if she told anyone about it. Many others also said they were threatened with violence if they refused to have sex. In some instances, they were asked to coerce their friends into the trade.
The high school girls who coerced the victims did so under instructions from other people. One girl said a woman who resides in Son Tay Town had told her that virgins can make a lot of money and that the more people she coerced successfully, the more money she would make.
The woman from Son Tay arranged for men to have sex with the victims at different locations. The victims were out of the communication loop and had little to no information about the men they were forced to have sex with.
One victim said Nga told her that the customer, a man in his 50s, was a bank director.
According to documents provided by one victim’s family, a man stayed in contact with their daughter through communication app Zalo.
The exposé was triggered by a teacher who got suspicious after seeing two students being picked up by a taxi near their school.
Later, at the police station, some girls admitted they were forced into prostitution by their peers.
In Vietnam, sex with girls 16 years old and under is deemed statutory rape.
Over 8,000 Vietnamese children have been either sexually or physically assaulted since 2015, according to data from the Ministry of Public Security. Over 17 children suffer from sexual abuse or harassment on average every day, according to the National Assembly’s Judicial Committee.