We, the undersigned, petition to you because we care about the morality of our society and because we are concerned for the security and welfare of the victims and their families in the Child Sexual Abuse case in Ha Giang province, Viet Nam.
Two school girls were forced to have sex with the principal. Then they were forced to have sex with communist officials in Ha Giang when they were 14 (well below their age of consent). This abuse has been on-going since 2005, five years ago. Now, the government has opened a case against the girls, charging them with prostitution, and keeping them in jail. The principal was prosecuted, but the government official was not. His name is Nguyen Truong To. This is a petition to free the girls and let justice be served in Viet Nam.
The Sam Duc Xuong child prostitution trial was publicly opened on July 11, 2009. That trial, together with the preceding hearings, has stirred up more questions and issues about the morality of the people in charge and the leaders of our society than it can solve. Right or wrong, guilty or not, the outcome will base on the decisions made by the court. We have waited and are still waiting for justice to be served by the law. However, we are greatly concerned about the safety and security of the victims in this case; especially the two teenage girls who were sexually abused, Nguyen Thi Hang and Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy. That is the reason for our signature herewith.
At the time in which the crime was committed, the two teenagers Thuy and Hang were still underage; therefore, they should be under family supervision and should have the right to counsel. Furthermore, according to the details made available through the media, other victims involved are currently between the ages of 13 to 17 years old. The law should provide protection for these underage victims and their families until the case is completed and the verdict is set.
Our society today is facing pressing issues about prostitution, especially the issue of Vietnamese women sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. What happened in Ha Giang illustrates the serious degradation in morality and the severity in human rights violation in our society. Children sexual abuse is no longer an under surface iceberg.
Therefore, we the undersigned, urgently ask that you do everything you can in your power to protect and preserve the rights of women and children in Ha Giang specifically and in all of Vietnam in general.
Due to the oversights and other violations occurred in the investigation as well as in the hearing and the preliminary trial, the two victims initially signed papers denying their right to be counseled and presented by lawyers; however, they admitted in court that they were terrorized and coerced into "writing and signing the denial statement read by the police officers". Based on their accounts in court, we do not believe in the sincerity and truthfulness of their written statement denying their right to counsel. We want to protect them from interrogation and urge you and your department to bail them out. That is a crucial thing to do guarantee a just and lawful trial.
We petition that you do everything that you can in your power to ask for the release of the two victims Nguyen Thi Hang and Nguyen Thanh Thuy from prison. While waiting for justice to be served, the underage girls should be in the protection of their families and in the counsel of their lawyers.
We believe that only when woman and children are liberated from poverty and injustice, the goals toward lasting peace, security, and stable development will not faltered.
PS: More on this story in the press: