Yangon women trafficked to China as brides
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