Yan­gon women traf­ficked to China as brides

The Myanmar Times - - News - TOE WAI AUNG toe­wa­iaung@mm­times.com

TWO women, aged 29 and 31, have re­ported to po­lice in Hlaing Thar­yar town­ship that they were vic­tims of hu­man traf­fick­ing, and had es­caped forced mar­riages in China.

In their state­ment to po­lice, the two women al­leged they were tricked with the al­lure of promising factory jobs, trans­ported il­le­gally over the bor­der, and then sold to Chi­nese men in Kun­ming.

The women said they were ap­proached by an­other Hlaing Thar­yar res­i­dent who promised them K500,000 a month at the Wah Ha Ha soft drinks factory in China. The ac­cused traf­ficker, Ma Cherry Myint, told the two women that she would pay all their travel ex­penses and in re­turn they would agree to have the amount de­ducted from their first two months’ salary.

On May 24, Ma Cherry Myint and her mother, Daw San San Win, took the two women on an overnight jour­ney from their homes in Yan­gon to the Shan State bor­der-town Muse. Once they crossed the bor­der, the women were met by a Chi­nese man who took them to a house in Kun­ming.

Af­ter three days at the house, Ma Cherry Mint said they would be taken sep­a­rately to the factory. The women re­fused and said they would go to work to­gether or not at all. In re­sponse, the traf­ficker beat them.

In the week that fol­lowed, the women were taken from the house sep­a­rately, each by a dif­fer­ent man. When the men came, Daw San San Win in­formed the women that they were now mar­ried.

Af­ter sev­eral months in Kun­ming, the women man­aged to es­cape and get in con­tact with their fam­i­lies. They crossed the bor­der back to Muse, where they stayed for two weeks at a women’s pro­tec­tion shel­ter be­fore re­turn­ing to Yan­gon.

Fol­low­ing the women’s com­plaints lodged on Oc­to­ber 3, the Hlaing Thar­yar po­lice have opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Ma Cherry Myint and Daw San San Win un­der sec­tions 24 and 32 of the Anti-Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Law. If found guilty, the ac­cused face up to 10 years in prison.

Lu­cra­tive em­ploy­ment of­fers have long drawn men and women across the bor­der to China. But the un­reg­u­lated, black-mar­ket pipe­line of lo­cal bro­kers has put many in a po­si­tion vul­ner­a­ble to hu­man traf­fick­ing.

In 2013, the Myan­mar Po­lice Force’s De­part­ment of Transna­tional Crime claimed that 80 per­cent of the re­ported hu­man traf­fick­ing cases from the past five years in­volved be­ing smug­gled into China for forced mar­riage.

In a sep­a­rate case re­ported ear­lier this year, two women, one from Zigon town­ship in Bago Re­gion and one from Yan­gon’s Hlaing Thar­yar town­ship, said a vo­ca­tion train­ing cen­tre of­fered them K250,000 plus free meals and trans­porta­tion to work as house­keep­ers in Muse town­ship. In­stead, in Ying Zheng, China they were told they had been sold as brides, but were able to es­cape be­fore they were forced into mar­riage. – Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

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