Myanmar authorities have been able to rescue 102 victims of human trafficking from China so far this year, a police official on the Anti-Trafficking Task Force told 7Day. Legal action has also been taken against the 60 men and 114 women who were acting as brokers in the 70 cases that have been recorded since January.
With only five male victims, women made up an overwhelming majority of the victims. Past reports show that female victims are forced to become sex workers, while men are used as laborers, and children as beggars.
Despite the good news, activists feel that simply rescuing individuals from these situations is just the first step, and that more should be done to break the terrible cycle.
Tun Tun, an anti-human trafficking activist currently working in China told 7Day: “To be honest, if these individuals did this [went to China] because they couldn’t find work here, then the government needs to help create jobs for them once they’re brought back [home]. Otherwise, these people will find another illegal way to go back to China, and when they go back, they’ll also take other women with them and act as their broker.”
The majority of Myanmar victims are women who come from low-income families in remote villages. These women are promised better paying jobs by brokers, only to be sold off to Chinese farmers once they make it across the border. According to police reports, victims are ‘priced’ based on their age; women who are virgins are also priced higher than those who are not.
When the one-child policy was still in place, Chinese men would take Myanmar brides and force them to get pregnant until they gave birth to a son. One victim who spoke to the Myanmar Times in 2013 said that the men would kill the child if it was a girl.
An anti-human trafficking law was only first introduced in Myanmar in 2005. Despite increased efforts to prosecute offenders, many cases still remain unsolved.
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