Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
HomeAsiaNearly 1,700 human-trafficking victims rescued from Lao SEZ since 2007

Nearly 1,700 human-trafficking victims rescued from Lao SEZ since 2007

'Quick read' news summary

Lao authorities have rescued more than 1,680 victims of human trafficking from the Chinese-run Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone between its establishment in 2007 and the end of August this year, Radio Free Asia has learned.

The victims included Lao workers and foreign nationals from more than 20 different countries, a member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Bokeo province who, like other sources in this report, requested anonymity for safety reasons, told RFA Lao.

The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in northern Laos is a gambling and tourism hub catering to Chinese citizens situated in Bokeo province along the Mekong River where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. It has become a haven for criminal activities including prostitution, scamming and drug trafficking.  

The SEZ is home to the Kings Romans Casino resort, where many impoverished young Laotians from other provinces and foreigners who were promised lucrative jobs end up held against their will by trafficking rings that exploit them under threat of violence. In 2018, the U.S. government sanctioned the Chinese tycoon who is said to run the SEZ as head of a trafficking network.

Most of the workers who have been rescued from the SEZ had been confined in buildings or in their rooms against their will and deprived of their freedom and other basic rights, the member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit said.

Most of the human trafficking victims in the Golden Triangle SEZ are foreigners whose embassies requested that Lao authorities rescue them, said a provincial police officer.

“Once rescued, a great number

Lao authorities have rescued more than 1,680 victims of human trafficking from the Chinese-run Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone between its establishment in 2007 and the end of August this year, Radio Free Asia has learned. The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in northern Laos is a gambling and tourism hub catering to Chinese citizens situated in Bokeo province along the Mekong River where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. Most of the human trafficking victims in the Golden Triangle SEZ are foreigners whose embassies requested that Lao authorities rescue them, said a provincial police officer.

Read different perspectives