Workers and cohabitation: bad outcomes
VietNamNet Bridge - Happy days of cohabitation end very quickly, leaving the consequences on female workers.

Female workers are required to attend reproductive health counseling. In picture: Reproductive health consultancy at Marie Stopes International clinic in Song Than Industrial Park, Binh Duong Province.

Those who live in the inns near Phuoc Long market in Phuoc Long B Ward, District 9, HCM City all know about the story of the couple named Vi and Ly, who are workers of a company in the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone.

Vi and Ly used to be students of the same college. In love for a time, they rent a room to live together and tragedy arose from it.

Without proper knowledge about safe sex and contraception, Vi got pregnant but she did not know about it. During that time, she still took contraceptive pills and antipyretics so the baby was affected. When the baby was three months old, he had high fever. The couple took the boy to the hospital and knew that he was retarded.

Vi said, after giving birth, she could not do anything because the baby was sick constantly. Ly’s salary was not enough to cover the cost of living. Vi opened a small grocery at the dorm room to make a little extra money and to take care of the child at home.

After a short period of time, she sent the child to a school for mentally-retarded children with monthly fee of VND1 million ($50) but the child was sick very often.

"Our life always revolves around money to pay rent, tuition for our child resulting in family conflicts, especially when my husband has to send money home to his parents. Many times I felt very tired and wanted to break up but I still love him and we have a child already..."

The couple has lived together for over 5 years and they are still not married. With a four-year-old child who is sick all the time, their life is more extreme.

The innocent children

Freetrend company in Linh Trung EPZ 1, HCM City has many workers who gave birth and left their babies in the toilets. Many innocent babies died.

Phuong, a worker at Freetrend, lived together with her boyfriend in a rent room. The happy life lasted for a few months. The couple then fell in repeated conflicts, which arose from difficulties in life. The conflict reached the peak when Phuong told her boyfriend that she was pregnant.

The "husband" immediately moved to another place. Phuong could not make abortion because the baby was too big. She went to the company with the abdomen wrapped around by cloth. Until the day of birth, because of the fear and shame, Phuong decided to throw the baby in the trash at the company. When people found the baby, the baby was dead.

In another case, during working hours, a female worker was tired so she asked her manager’s permission to leave but just few steps out the door, the woman fainted and blood ran from her body. At the hospital, doctors determined that she had delivered a baby a few minutes ago. The company’s guards searched the toilet and found the dead baby in the trash.

Such tragic stories are not rare in industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City.

Marriage in hell

Lack of knowledge about safe sex, Ngoc, a worker of Freetrend company had to endure an unhappy marriage.

At the age of 18, Ngoc went from Dong Nai to Ho Chi Minh City to become a worker. A few months later, she acquainted Thinh, also a work and they decided to live together.

Too young and giving up school early so Ngoc did not have any knowledge about safe sex. Until the pregnancy was more than three months, she knew about it. A wedding took place quickly after that. Experiencing the life after the wedding, Ngoc regretted for her folly.

The married life is not easy because they came together too quickly and did not have time to know thoroughly about each other. Thinh was gentle and hard-working but very paternalistic. He decided to return to the countryside without consulting Ngoc. "Sometimes I wanted to break up but then I thought that it was my fault. I have a child so I cannot live on my own anymore," Ngoc said.

Even when they marry, happiness does not come to the couples who cohabited before marriage. Hanh and Thuy, workers of CCHTop Co. in Tan Tao Industrial Zone, broke up 5 months after their wedding surprised many people.

Everyone knows that they were in love and lived together for a long time before they married. During this time, Thuy had an abortion three times. After many days of struggle and overcoming hardships, they were married. But a month later, Thuy knew that she would never be a mother as a result of the abortion. Sadnees and Thuy’s unprovoked jealousy turn the marriage into hell. They decided to break up after five months.

Ms. Ngo Loi Loi, Head of Human Resources Department of Freetrend, said that every month, the company handles maternity policy for 600 women. In particular, one half of the birth certificates were not filed with the name of the father.

Vietnam, Industrial Park, export processing zone, female workers, cohabitation