Vietnam's Children - 3
Children in Vietnam have many obstacles they need to contend with, including exploitation and child labour. Poverty, industrialisation, urbanisation, rapid population growth in large cities, increasing trade liberalisation, and migration to urban centres has contributed to the rising numbers of child labourers in the country.
Perhaps the most harrowing work Vietnamese children are involved with includes gold mining, cargo transportation, and timber operations. This work is extremely dangerous and hazardous, and children are forced to work long hours, with earnings far below the minimum wage. Their employers also have a lack of basic facilities, and physical and mental abuse is often used to keep children suppressed. [2a]
Shockingly, although the government of Vietnam has restricted all forms of corporal punishment on children, this horrendous crime still occurs.
The long-standing influences of Confucianism in Vietnam mean that many communities still believe in “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”.
A high number of children have cited abuse on various levels in Vietnam. Perhaps one of the most humiliating abuses comes in the form of children being abused openly in class by their teachers. The main reasons given for abusing children were disobedience, laziness in studying, and fighting.
Of all forms of punishment, Corporal Punishment came in second (25.6%) as the preferred method used by teachers and parents alike. Amazingly, 77% of adults think that Corporal Punishment is moderate, and only 3.9% consider it extremely serious. [2b]
HIV and AIDS
HIV and AIDS are also a major problem faced by Vietnamese children. The country used to enjoy the record of having one of the lowest records of HIV prevalence rates in the whole of South Asia; however, this is now changing. There are now over 76,000 reported cases of HIV in the country, 70% of whom are under the age of 30, and many of whom are children.
It is the uneducated viewpoint on sexual education that most Vietnamese people hold that is the major cause of this increase in HIV. Although many people are aware that condoms can help prevent HIV transfer, they are still thought of negatively. Condom sales are forbidden in high schools, and talking openly about sex is not encouraged.
Discrimination is also widespread in Vietnam when it comes to AIDS and HIV. Fear of the disease often outweighs compassion for the affected person, and they are shunned and avoided. Young victims are often abandoned in hospitals or reform schools and are given very little care. [1c]