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Viet Nam enhances legal frameworks to protect children from sexual exploitation

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 14 July 2017 - A consultation workshop has been held in Hanoi as part of a comprehensive analysis of legal frameworks concerning the protection of children from sexual exploitation. Held by UNOC, together with the Viet Nam Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the recommendations on Viet Nam's legal framework addressing child sexual exploitation, with a particular focus on child sex tourism.

To examine the extent to which domestic legislation meets key international legal standards applicable to child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism, UNODC undertook legislative reviews in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand in 2014. This report brings the 2014 analysis up to date with a focus on criminalization, protection of child victims and witnesses, and measures for cross border cooperation and includes information on developments in each country since 2014, which have contributed to building stronger and more effective criminal justice responses to child sex tourism in the region.

Speaking at the Workshop, Mr. Christopher Batt, Officer-in-charge of the UNODC in Viet Nam, highlighted: "In addition to reflecting recent legal and policy developments in Viet Nam, this report includes concrete recommendations for ongoing reform work building on the work undertaken since 2014".

Madam Nguyen Thi Mai Hoa, National Assembly (NA) Deputy, Standing Member of NA Committee on Culture, Education of Children and Youth said: "I have been waiting for this report for a long time". She further added: "The report has pointed out the loopholes and shortcomings in our legal system and will serve as a constructive basis for Viet Nam to progress with legal reforms to better protect the rights of children in the future".

Madam Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, Director General, Criminal and Administrative Law Department, Ministry of Justice emphasized that over the last few years in Viet Nam, "the situation of child abuse and child sexual abuse in particular, has become more complex in its nature and seriousness.

"In recent years, the Government has promulgated many programs and policies, yet there remains much to be done for child protection and prevention of child abuse, including child sex tourism in Viet Nam", she added.

Key issues and concerns of child sex tourism in Viet Nam and the wider region have been discussed and analysed at the workshop. This was also a useful channel for policy makers, state management agencies, line government agencies, international organizations, researchers, and social activists to voice up their recommendations in terms of policy and measures for further legal and judicial reforms in the future.

"This workshop approaches child sexual exploitation from the perspectives of a legal system and its implementation.", said Mr. Jun Yanagi, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Vietnam. "I hope this workshop sees fruitful discussions regarding the legal system and its implementation concerning child sexual exploitation, leads to the publication of a meaningful report in the future, and promotes the measure against this issue further effectively," he added.

Ms. Noriko Shibata, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, UNODC Regional Office for South East Asia and the Pacific said "After today's discussion, we will finalise the report and publish it in September this year. This report is one of the main achievements of UNODC's project on combating sexual exploitation of children. The report will be presented at Regional Legal Research Group Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia in September."

Participating in the workshop were over 100 participants including academics, researchers, legislators, legal experts, law enforcement officers, government officials, civil society and development partners in Viet Nam, as well as experts from MOJ, JICA, UNODC and other UN agencies. During the one-day workshop, UNODC presented the draft legal report and participants presented updates on relevant criminal laws; discussed recommendations of the draft revised report and mapped and agreed on areas of mutual interest for future collaboration.