Two Vietnamese men were given 12-year jail terms after they were found guilty of selling four women to people in China.

Nguyen Van Dong, 26, and his 23-year-old brother-in-law Le Xuan Dung were sentenced at a court in Dak Lak province on May 8, VN Express reported.

According to the court, a woman name Dao Thi Theu invited Nguyen to become her associate in procuring Vietnamese women for Chinese buyers. Nguyen was offered 25 million Dong (US$1,071).

Nguyen then asked Le to join him. They used social media to chat with the women and posed as mobile phone salesmen recruiting workers for their teams.

Le got in touch with H’Ngan Adrong, a 27-year-old ethnic minority woman in Dak Lak province. Nguyen and Le took her to the border in Lang Song province on March 8, 2018, where she was handed over to another Vietnamese man named Quan.

Quan then took H’Ngan to Dao, who was in China. She then gave the ethnic woman to an unidentified middleman. Ultimately she was sold as a wife for 90 million Dong (US$3,851) to a Chinese man.

H’Ngan escaped initially but ran into Dao again, who sold her to another Chinese man for 105 million Dong (US$4,493.) She then escaped again and was able to return to Vietnam.

In April and May last year, Nguyen and Le used the same ploy to sell three more women to buyers in China. Fortunately, they were rescued by local police five days after being taken to China.

Nguyen and Le will serve their sentence and were ordered to pay a total of 132 million Dong in compensation (US$5,649) to their victims.

Government data from 2010 to the third quarter of last year shows that courts in Vietnam have had to deal with several thousand cases of people being trafficked out of the country. Some 4,500 traffickers were accused of trading almost 7,000 victims – usually women and children in poor and rural areas, most of who were sold to men seeking wives in China, Malaysia and South Korea, or used to bear children, or forced into sex work.