Vietnam's Rehab Gulag Revealed | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Vietnam's Rehab Gulag Revealed

A damning Human Rights Watch report shows addicts used as slave labor in Vietnam—and the West is complicit.


Vietnam's exploited addicts Photo via

By Jed Bickman


| Share

You don’t want to get stuck in a drug detention center in Vietnam (though we’re not recommending them elsewhere in Southeast Asia either). Yesterday the international NGO Human Rights Watch released a 121-page report called The Rehab Archipelago that details a litany of abuses in 14 rehab centers around Vietnam. Inmates are used as forced labor, performing hazardous work without pay. Although they enter the centers voluntarily for drug treatment, they're forbidden from leaving and are compelled to work in agricultural production, garment making or construction. Some of the products made in these abusive settings make their way into the supply chains of companies that sell goods to the US and Europe. The report called the drug treatment “ineffective and abusive,” and accused international HIV and AIDS nonprofit organizations—including the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—of facilitating the abuse. Under Vietnamese law, individuals in detention have a right to be released if they are not being provided with appropriate medical care—by providing that care, it's claimed, organizations like PEPFAR deprive exploited inmates of that avenue to freedom. Human Rights Watch said that forced labor is not incidental to a core program of drug treatment in the centers; rather, it is central to how the institutions operate. One inmate who was interviewed said: “If you refused to work, they slapped you. If you refused to work then they sent you to the punishment room. Everyone worked.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
PMS: A Natural Threat to Sobriety

I remember slamming things around the kitchen one night and feeling like I’d lost my mind. I was angry about something so minor, I literally can’t remember what it was and I don’t know that I knew then either

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv