WASHINGTON, March 12, 2004�E-Bay has withdrawn a listing offering for auction three young Vietnamese women "for delivery in Taiwan only," Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. The listing appeared on the E-Bay Web site in Chinese and English for five days, from March 2-7.

"There�s no place for that on or off E-Bay, as far as we�re concerned," company spokesman Hani Durzi told RFA. "We do not allow the sale of women and children or people in general�This item was brought to our attention by someone [outside the company], and we immediately took it down."

The Ebay listing for three Vietnamese women was pulled on March 7. The online auction giant often simultaneously lists for auction 21 million items worldwide, Durzi said. "Sometimes our community will see them before we do, because we see them only after they go up," he said. "But we are constantly scanning."

The listing first appeared March 2 in Chinese and English and drew bids up to U.S. $5,400. "Item location: Vietnam," it said, adding: "Ships to Taiwan only."

According to the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans, based in Springfield, Virginia, the listing was deleted 48 hours after the group sent a March 5 letter of complaint to E-Bay president Meg Whitman.

Repeated phone calls to the U.S. Justice Department during business hours went unanswered.

The trafficking of women and children from Vietnam, often to work in the sex trade in China and Cambodia, is a growing problem. Police in Vietnam estimate that 50,000 people have been sold into prostitution over the last decade.

In January, a Vietnamese woman was arrested in Hanoi for trafficking five local women who were sold into China's sex trade. She and two accomplices had allegedly lured five Vietnamese girls, aged around 15, from the northern province of Thanh Hoa with the promise of employment.


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