The findings stem from a survey of 1,600 women immigrants in the Kim Chung and Duong Xa communes of the capital’s outlying Dong Anh and Gia Lam districts.
The Co-operation-and-Human-Resource-Development-Centre and ActionAid-Viet Nam research shows that although the women were in Ha Noi to improve their living standards, only 65 per cent had attended vocational training courses.
More than 70 per cent were single and had to cope with low wages and long working hours without either an employment contract or a social insurance card.
About 14 per cent of the participants said the immigrants were deceived into prostitution while 6.7 per cent said they had been tricked into becoming victims of human trafficking.
The research found that 94–96 per cent of the immigrants had to rent their accommodation while the remainder lived with relatives; their boyfriends or married local men.
But 90 per cent of the accommodation has no television, radio, gas stove or motorbike.
Many participants in the survey said they slept for most of their leisure time.
Sexual abuse was regular, especially on the way to and from work.
Knowing that many of the women wanted to marry, some local men seduced them into sexual intercourse, leading to unwanted pregnancies.
The research shows that 31 per cent of immigrants do not know the address of their local health centres; 31 per cent rely on private clinics and 38 per cent of their children under six have no health insurance card.
Chief researcher Vu Minh Tien warns the lack of protection for the women’s rights at work and where they live will create an even more favourable environment for human trafficking if effective action is not immediately taken.
The researchers want district administrators and organisations made the focus of a campaign to make them more aware about their role and responsibility to help the immigrants.
They say the immigrants must be provided with information about human trafficking and the necessary skills to avoid it.
The policies and laws to protect the legitimate rights of women immigrants must be enforced, they say.
These include protecting their rights at work; preventing discrimination between male and female workers as well as between local workers and immigrants; and ensuring they have social security.
Dong Anh Culture Office director Nguyen Kim Ngan concedes that much work needs to be done to protect legitimate rights of the immigrants.
Cultural houses have been built for women workers in the district’s centre but not near their residential precincts.
"We need regulations that oblige a family with 20 rooms, or more, for rent to have one dedicated to television viewing," he says.
Information about reproductive health, especially pre-marriage, is also necessary.
Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour’s Social Policy Department Deputy Director Dang Quang Dieu says he has asked for legal consulting centres to be established in industrial parks and export processing zones.
The Ministry of Health’s Population and Family Planning Department estimates that 120,000 to 130,000 immigrants will arrive in Ha Noi this year.
Of these 52 per cent will be under 25 years old – the age group most likely to fall victim to such anti-social evils as drugs and prostitution.