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Human Rights Watch says Vietman using US AIDS funds to run forced labor camps

Human Rights Watch has released a report which alleges the U.S. government’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funds are being used by the government of Vietnam to run forced labor camps.

The report says that hundreds of thousands of drug addicts have passed through forced treatment facilities in the country, the Associated Press reports.

“People who are dependent on drugs in Vietnam need access to community-based, voluntary treatment,” Joe Amon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch in New York, said in a statement. “Instead, the government is locking them up, private companies are exploiting their labor and international donors are turning a blind eye to the torture and abuses they face.”

The government of Vietnam denies the report, calling it groundless.

Vietnam is one of 34 counties and regions receiving money under PEPFAR, a program initiated by former President George W. Bush. The U.S. government website say the southeast Asian country has received nearly $325 million under the program between 2004 and 2009.

Vietnam, as well as other countries in southeast Asia have been the most recent location of rapid HIV spread. The epidemic is fueled by the sex trade and intravenous drug use in that country.

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