Vietnam: paying war debt with people’s labour

As USA politicians frequently claimed, during the Vietnam war Northern Vietnam received a lot of support from Russia, among others. Consequently, there was a “Soviet war debt;” Vietnam’s debt was in the billions. But Vietnam was impoverished by the war. One way for the debt to be paid was for VIetnam to “send” workers to Russia to work. A proportion of their wages was kept in Russia. Some of the small amount was sent to family, and the rest was used to sustain a meager existence for at least five years. By that time, the workers were prey for the Russian Mafia.

Both men and women were sent, and what I’ve described is not officially setting up of prostitution rings. But it clearly could make women vulnerale to exploitation. The initial plan ended with the official Soviet union, and Vietnam is said now to traffic a lot in human beings.

The woman whose story I was listening to got back to her home after ten years of very demanding work. Her family arranged for her to marry a Vietnamese man in Houston. She very sadly entered another arena of stress and disrespect.

I could find very little about the exportation of VN citizens in the 80’s from any sources half-way reliable. One fairly believable one is here: