‘Thou­sands of Myan­mar women forced into mar­riage in China’

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD -

Bangkok: Thou­sands of vul­ner­a­ble women and girls from north­ern Myan­mar are be­ing traf­ficked to China and forced to marry, a study said Fri­day, of­fer­ing a rare look at an is­sue that grips the con­flict-hit bor­der­lands. China has around 33 mil­lion more women than men due to the decades-long one-child pol­icy.

To plug the gap tens of thou­sands of poor women from Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Myan­mar and Viet­nam are sold as brides each year, some go­ing will­ingly, while oth­ers are tricked or traf­ficked.

In the first research of its kind, a re­port by Johns Hop­kins Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health es­ti­mated 7,500 women from war-torn Kachin and north­ern Shan states have fallen vic­tim to forced mar­riage in China.

Based on in­ter­views with scores of peo­ple who es­caped and re­turned to Myan­mar, and oth­ers still in­side China, the study found that the ma­jor­ity of those traf­ficked were also forced to carry a child for their hus­band.

Women leave Myan­mar be­cause of “con­flict, dis­place­ment and poverty” said re­port au­thor W Court­land

Robin­son, while “the male­fe­male sex im­bal­ance in China, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas” means de­mand for a wife is high.

One woman told re­searchers that she was traf­ficked into China three times, and each time “pushed into giv­ing birth”, said Moon Nay Li of Kachin Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion Thai­land, who led the field research in Kachin and Shan states. “Be­cause of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, con­flict and land con­fis­ca­tion...se­cu­rity for women is a big chal­lenge,” she said.

Mar­riages are of­ten ar­ranged and bro­kered by the women’s own fam­i­lies and vil­lage el­ders, with brides-tobe un­able to refuse as they are at the bot­tom of the so­cial hi­er­ar­chy.

Photo for rep­re­sen­ta­tion

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