Human trafficking and illegal labour movements from Vietnam have become a major concern that needs to be addressed in Laos, according to an official.
Director of Legal Division Department of Consular, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Soutchay Soukhaseum, said the problem of illegal Vietnamese labourers entering Laos had recently emerged along the border of the two countries, especially in Khammuan and Borikhamxay provinces.
Soutchay's remarks come as workers from across the country came together to raise awareness for International Anti-Human Trafficking Day yesterday.
The event aimed to educate local labourers and employers about the risks involved with human trafficking, how to monitor and report the problem and how to work abroad legally.
"Human trafficking is a real issue around the world and Laos is one of many countries that are facing this problem as our country is in the transit area from Vietnam to Thailand," Soutchay said.
She said some parts of the country, particularly in Borikhamxay, are seeing Vietnamese people lured to Laos to join the illegal sex trade.
"Of the Vietnamese people being trafficked to Laos, some have been found and returned home already," she said. "Many people are coming to the country illegally; some take advantage of the visa exception."
Soutchay said the perpetrators usually stayed longer than regulation permits or hide-out in Laos after their visas expire.
Some Lao people are not aware of the labour movement issue and they are hiring Vietnam labourers as they are considered to be cheap, she said.