Portraits of exploited child labor - Vietnam

Oct 24, 2023

Last June, following investigations carried out with social workers from our local partner CSWC, we identified 33 child victims of labor exploitation in Phan Thiet, a port city in southern Vietnam. Since this summer, we have been offering them individual and family follow-up to help them out of this situation. Here is the story of 2 of these children.

Tây is 15. His parents separated when he was 5, and he lives with his mother and sister. Following the Covid, the family had to take out a loan of 15 million Dong [€470] to meet their daily needs, which they are still repaying.
To support the family budget, Tây no longer goes to school: he works in a fish processing factory, 10 hours a day. He sometimes works nights, starting at 2 or 3 in the morning and finishing at 10pm. His salary varies from €75 to €115 a month. Sick and injured several times on the job, he has never received any compensation.

Under Vietnam's Labor Code, a child between the ages of 13 and 15 may only perform light work regulated by a list issued by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Working hours may not exceed 4 hours a day or 20 hours a week. Overtime and night work are prohibited.

Huy is 8 years old and lives with his parents in a family of 5 children. His father works on a fishing boat, and his income is low and unstable. He drinks a lot and neglects his family. His mother sorts garbage. She also sells lottery tickets and has always taken her children with her. Huy and his 11-year-old sister are left alone on the street to sell tickets from 1pm to 4pm and from 5:30pm to 11:30pm. In a situation of daily survival, the family struggles to pay the children's school fees.

Under Vietnam's Labor Code, it is forbidden to recruit and employ children under the age of 13, except for work related to the arts and sports, provided such work does not harm their physical, mental and personality development. In addition, the employer must have the approval of the specialized labor agency of the provincial People's Committee.


The aim of our project is to work with local actors to strengthen the identification and support of child victims of trafficking and exploitation, and thus enable their reintegration.

In general, social workers mobilize community resources to, for example, obtain scholarships for children to resume or continue their studies; issue administrative documents (birth certificate, identity card, etc.) essential for access to public services; or direct young people towards vocational training centers...

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