Labour, crocodiles and Lolita: Life inside a Vietnamese prison

Punishing forced labour, a litany of torture accusations, zero contact with family outside the country: Such preconceptions are the norm for Vietnam’s prisons, yet actually setting foot inside one reveals a bizarre new reality.On a recent visit to Thu Duc Prison, around three hours outside Ho Chi Minh City, nobody could remember such an event ever occurring before – a delegation of foreign reporters allowed to enter inside the nation’s secretive prison system and speak directly to inmates.The trip essentially took place due to the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement that Vietnam’s National Assembl…

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