Investigative reporting helped police in Ghana to break up a forced prostitution ring and rescue six Vietnamese women
The ring, allegedly run by two Chinese men in the coastal city of Sekondi Takoradi, was broken up this month thanks in part to the reporting of Anas Aremeyaw Anas of The New Crusading Guide newspaper.
Anas told VOA's Vietnamese service that it took six months for him and Ghanaian police to investigate the case with assistance from the International Criminal Police Organization.
He said the victims are being taken care of at a safe place.
"They say that they were in Vietnam and somebody came to them and told them that they wanted to take them to Norway and to give them a very good job in Norway. So they were happy about the prospect, and they took advantage of that. They were surprised that the flight brought them to Ghana, and then they took them to Tema, Ghana, and that is when the sexual exploitation started," said Anas.
Anas said the women told him they looked for way to get away, but failed because the traffickers seized their travel documents and they did not have any money on hand.
An official at Vietnam's Embassy in Nigeria, which is responsible for consular affairs in Ghana, says they are working with local authorities to protect the women.
"The circumstances surrounding six female persons are not clear, so we cannot give out any information. But we are working with local authorities to protect these women," said the official.
Ghanaian media reported that two Chinese nationals involved in the human trafficking ring were granted bail and will re-appear before the court in mid-April.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration has reportedly bought tickets for the victims, and is assisting them to go back to Vietnam after they stand as witnesses at the local court.
U.S. State Department's 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report put Vietnam on Tier 2 of the three-tired scale, saying 'Vietnamese women and children subjected to sex trafficking throughout Asia are often misled by fraudulent labor opportunities and sold to brothels on the borders of Cambodia, China, and Laos, with some eventually sent to third countries."
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.