Vietnam Blogger Arrested while Interviewing School Students about Child Sex Abuse



Defend the Defenders, March 21, 2017


On March 21, police in Vietnamís capital city of Hanoi arbitrarily detained Catholic blogger Nguyen Duc Hung when he conducted an interview in a local secondary school about child sex abuse, blogger Nam Phuong told Defend the Defenders.

Blogger Nam Phuong, who was in the same interviewing team with Mr. Hung, said when they asked students of the Minh Khai secondary school in Thanh Nhan ward about molestation, the school principal sent guards to hold them and call the local police.

Ms. Nam Phuong said she escaped from the scene while Hung is detained by police. Until the late evening of Tuesday, the police still keep him.

The Minh Khai secondary school is the place where a victim of sex abuse is studying. Under public pressure, Hanoi police launched a probe several months after the incident. Last week, police arrested a suspect who is a former senior official of Vietcombank and current official of Vietinbank. The suspect is a nephew of the chairman of the executive body Peopleís Committee of the northern province of Thai Binh.

Hung is the fourth activist detained due to their campaign against child sex abuse. On March 16, authorities in Ho Chi Minh City detained three local activists who held a public demonstration to demand an investigation into a pedophile case in a local elementary school (you can see our report on the case here: )

Child sex abuse is a serious problem in Vietnam. On average, 1,000 Vietnamese children are victims of sexual assault every year, according to the Gender-based Violence Prevention Network in Vietnam (GBVNet), a network of 12 organizations working on gender and gender-based violence in the country.

The Ministry of Public Security said that the number of child abuse cases reported in 2014 hit 1,544, nearly doubling that of 2010.

Nguyen Van Anh, director of the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women, and Adolescents (CSAGA), attributed the rising but low figures to the authoritiesí failure to live up to their responsibilities, compromise, or fear of being ashamed among victims.

Perpetrators were often people exercising authority over the children. They include teachers, school security guards, or relatives.

Meanwhile, Dang Hoa Nam, head of the Agency of Children Protection and Care under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, said that it seems that child abuse cases tend to be covered up by authorities.

He called for stronger public protest against molestation to protect the victims, and children in general.

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