Five nannies have been temporarily relieved of their job at a children care center in Ho Chi Minh City after they were found by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters hitting kids with HIV with their bare hands, slippers, and legs.
A Tuoi Tre investigation, which was conducted for over one month and released on Monday, disclosed that some caretakers beat kids every day at the Kindergarten Department of the Linh Xuan HIV/AIDS Care and Support Center, which is located in Thu Duc District.
The investigative feature accompanied by a video clip described in great detail how these caretakers hit several HIV-positive kids on a daily basis with their bare hands, slippers, and legs when the kids refused to eat, digested food slowly or even when they did nothing wrong.
The beatings sent the defenseless kids sobbing loudly, plunging them into terror and anxiety and ending them up in tearful, painful meals.
The exposé has so far sparked fury among members of the public who have showed compassion for the kids living with the deadly virus, prone to opportunistic ailments, and generally orphaned or deprived of parental affection and care.
Later on Monday, the Linh Xuan HIV/AIDS Care and Support Center’s directorate suspended the five nannies from work.
The five caretakers, Vu Thi Quy, 52; Tran Thi Thu Trinh, 44; Nguyen Thi Lan, 46; Nguyen Thi Bao Chau; and Luu Thi Ha all admitted to the beatings.
Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, director of the Linh Xuan HIV/AIDS Care and Support Center, told Tuoi Tre yesterday that prior to the newspaper’s exposé, some older kids at the center once lodged their complaint to the city’s Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs that they were beaten by some center staff members.
Following the complaint, the center’s directorate penalized the head, deputy head of the department, and a staff member.
According to Doctor Dao Thi Hue, the center’s vice director, the facility is currently home to 120 kids, including HIV-positive children and those with mental and physical disabilities.
Among them, 22 are being cared for at the Kindergarten Department by 15 nannies.
Tien, the director, added the five suspended nursemaids all grew up at the center and are poorly educated though they have received some training in caretaking.
They have also spent over 10 years tending to kids at the center, she noted.
“These nannies are usually not in the right frame of mind and do not have a good education, so they acted quite differently from our other well-trained staffers,” Tien stressed.
She added the infringing nannies will be sternly penalized and face termination of employment contracts.
Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, director of the Linh Xuan HIV/AIDS Care and Support Center, is seen watching the Tuoi Tre footage featuring five of the center's nannies beating several HIV-positive kids. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to the director, who admitted shortcomings in allowing such beatings to occur, the center launches inspections and surveillance once every week.
However, the inspections failed to uncover the beatings as no bruises or injuries were seen in the kids.
Tien pledged she will have cameras installed in different departments and rooms to prevent similar happenings.
Tran Trung Dung, director of the Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, told Tuoi Tre on Monday afternoon that as soon as he was notified of the beatings, his department instantly dispatched an inspection team to the Linh Xuan HIV/AIDS Care and Support Center.
He promised to strictly penalize the violators.
Lawyer Hua Thi Thao, member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, pointed out that those beating children may face criminal penalties under Articles 110 and 104 of the Penal Code, depending on the victims’ injuries.