tackling human trafficking in myanmar

It’s all part of a project on preventing and mitigating the impacts of trafficking through women’s empowerment and livelihood training, supported by UN Women and funded by the Government of Japan. Htoi provides rescued women and girls with legal aid, psychosocial counselling, referrals to services, skills training for their economic recovery and human trafficking awareness training. However, in contrast to 2017, more traffickers have had been prosecuted and convicted and more victims identified. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Additionally, some child recruits have been prosecuted and sentenced for deserting the military and remain in prison. The regime's widespread use of and lack of accountability in forced labor and recruitment of child soldiers is the top causal factor for Myanmar's significant trafficking problem. Myanmar is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to human trafficking, specifically forced labor, and for women and children, forced prostitution in other countries. Exploiters traffic girls for the purpose of prostitution, particularly in urban areas. Many families living in impoverished communities cross the border in search of employment and become vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers. Myanmar signed a 2004 anti-trafficking agreement and passed a law in 2005, but procedures are unclear, anti-trafficking police have little budget, and the existing law “is still weak and not fully implemented,” says Ms. Li Htwi. Although the government reported four officials prosecuted for involvement in human trafficking in 2009, the government did not release any details of the cases. On February 28, 2014, Myanmar officials decided to ban Doctors Without Borders from the state of Rakhine after the organization discovered and treated 40 victims of a rampage between Muslim and Buddhist citizens that the government denies took place. Thet Naung said he was disappointed by Myanmar’s ranking in the TIP report and maintained his unit was trying to tackle trafficking more effectively. After her return, Khawng Nu gave the authorities a list of names of the other girls she had met in China, as many were from her village. Such unaccountable harassment and punishment discouraged additional forced labor complaints. “As a Kachin woman, I was driven to advocate for the equal rights of women in Kachin,” explains Htoi Director Nang Pu. Khawng Nu now owns a sewing machine and is looking for more start-up capital to set up a tailoring shop. Chinese men come here and give money to parents for a forced marriage. NEW DELHI: In an effort to stop human trafficking, India has decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar very soon. During the whole … “When I arrived, no woman wanted to tell me what the job was,” says Mun Pan. A UN Women programme is supporting local partner, Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, in providing legal support and vocational training to survivors. [2], The Government of Myanmar reported some progress in law enforcement efforts against cross-border sex trafficking during the reporting period. In order to tackle increasing transnational crimes, it is very important to tackle the root of the problems. The beginning of the monsoon rains in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, coupled with the international spotlight on human traffickers in the region, appears to have slowed the flight of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar … For instance, Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, is questioning whether the current program, especially in Thailand, will tackle the trafficking of migrant workers. Economic conditions within Myanmar have led to the increased legal and illegal migration of citizens regionally and internationally, often to destinations as far from Myanmar as the Middle East. Myanmar courts later released 13 of the individuals, but four complainants remain in prison. Tackling Southeast Asia’s Migrant Crisis. Children are threatened with jail if they do not agree to join the army, and are sometimes physically abused. There, she met Mun Pan*, who was barely 18 years old when she was trafficked from the village of Naung Mun, northern Myanmar. [2], The U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2 Watchlist" in 2017. Many minors from Myanmar work in Thai border towns, particularly the town of Mae Sai. [2] Furthermore, due to the large number of people living below the national poverty line, many women are forced into illegal prostitution. Htoi also organizes peer mentoring groups for survivors to connect and support one another. The individual country in the sub-region has been tackling human trafficking but is necessary to fulfill closer cooperation and effective support. Last year I wrote on New Mandala that ASEAN leaders should think ‘regional’ in crafting anti-trafficking programs. While the government reported that it encouraged victims to assist in investigations and prosecutions, it did not appear to provide financial support or other assistance to victims to serve as incentives to participate in the prosecution of their traffickers. The government of Myanmar reported forming three new anti-trafficking units in 2009, and reported a 40 percent overall increase in spending on prevention efforts. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, In Zee Lum Ward, Myitkyina, 27-year-old Ja Doi Lahpai—who was exploited in a mobile phone factory in China—has since learned how to weave, start a business and handle marketing and financial management. 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Myanmar's internal trafficking remains the most serious concern. Khawng Nu says they were beaten and bullied if they put up any resistance. Existing networks The direct government and military use of forced or compulsory labor remains a widespread and serious problem, particularly targeting members of ethnic minority groups, such as the Shan people. The lack of income-earning opportunities for survivors often puts them at risk of being re-trafficking or other forms of exploitation. During the whole 2020, 167 people including 39 young girls were victimized while 339 traffickers were charged in connection with the cases. Human traffickers charge 8,000-10,000 Thai baht (about 355,000 to 445,000 Myanmar kyats) to transport one person from border towns to the interior of Thailand. Human trafficking victims in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar mostly end up in forced marriages. The government has done little to help international organizations assess the scope of the problem. So, the programme also empowers women to set up and run their own shops and businesses as entrepreneurs or market vendors. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, Htoi lawyer Sar Li Htwi focuses on cases involving trafficking, rape and domestic violence. She’s heard of women being resold to other families after giving birth, and of a baby girl being killed after delivery because the family wanted a son. “Human trafficking is common not only in border areas. Myanmar is facing both cross-border and domestic human trafficking, but cross-border trafficking is four times larger than within the country, as the business of selling people abroad brings in more money. [2] Police can be expected to self-limit investigations when well-connected individuals are involved in forced labor cases. “They told me: ‘it’s a good job, you don’t have to do anything’. [10] In 2018 Myanmar was downgraded to Tier 3, as the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking were not being met and no efforts were seen to be made to meet them. In less than a year, the programme has already trained 125 trafficking survivors, women in at-risk communities and in Internally Displaced Peoples camps and villages, imparting financial management and marketing skills, linking beneficiaries to training centres and markets, and providing business start-up grants once training is complete. Eventually, both girls’ families were able to pay a ransom of sorts for their return. [9], The regime made efforts to protect repatriated victims of cross-border sex trafficking to China and Thailand, though it exhibited no discernible efforts to protect victims of internal trafficking and transnational labor trafficking. Human Wrongs Watch In 2005, Myanmar passed an anti-trafficking law, but trafficking is still rampant in the conflict-affected state, especially in the northern region, where it borders China. Drivers who smuggle illegal workers into Thailand go to villages to recruit minors, and then transport them to the border. Tackling human trafficking in Myanmar. [2] Jakarta: IOM Philippines recently launched two projects aimed at increasing access to ethical recruitment and reducing the prevalence of human trafficking among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through funding from the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). The latest reports from Washington indicate that the US feels improvements are underway. He said the government had signed agreements with Thailand and China on combating human trafficking and was also cooperating with other countries in Southeast Asia, as well as UN agencies and NGOs. UN Women’s local implementing partner, Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, assisted with the rescue and is providing legal support for their court cases. The government continued awareness campaigns using billboards, flyers, and videos during the reporting period and state-run television aired a documentary on human trafficking produced by the MTV EXIT Campaign. Those living in areas with the highest military presence, including remote border areas populated by ethnic groups, are most at risk for forced labor. [2] In 2009, the ILO continued to receive and investigate forced labor complaints; 93 cases were submitted to the Myanmar government for action, an increase from 64 cases in 2008; 54 cases remain open and are awaiting a response from the government. The recruitment of children into the army is a criminal offense under Penal Code Section 374, which could result in imprisonment for up to one year, or a fine, or both. The United Nations states that its negotiations with Myanmar to allow Doctors Without Borders into the Rakhine state are of special importance, as citizens lack the ability to report human rights abuses for fear of becoming victims of the human trafficking or violence themselves. Global New Light of Myanmar. It involves putting or keeping someone in an exploitative situation, usually for profit. Some trafficking victims transit through Myanmar from Bangladesh to Malaysia and from China to Thailand and beyond. These crimes include forced labor, child soldiers, and personal, including sexual violence.[5]. [8], Conversations between the US and Myanmar have been more frequent in recent years. Since September … Children are subjected to forced labor in tea shops, home industries, and agricultural plantations. China is the main destination for trafficked women as brides. Not only political instability, but also the country's poverty favour the recruitment of children.[3][4]. Sex trafficking victims in the country are from all ethnic groups in Myanmar and foreigners. Khawng Nu managed to send a message to her family, who shared it with the pastor and informed the village leaders. “Now, after meeting with other women trafficking survivors through the peer group organized by Htoi, I no longer feel alone and seeing that there are other women who went through the same experience gave me courage.”. Many men, women, and children from Thailand, Malaysia, China, Bangladesh, India, and South Korea who migrate abroad for work are trafficked into conditions of forced or bonded labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Between 20,000 and 30,000 women and girls from Myanmar are estimated to be working in the prostitution industry in Thailand. The Myanmar regime rules arbitrarily through its unilaterally imposed laws, but rule of law is absent, as is an independent judiciary that would respect trafficking victims’ rights. An estimated 30% of Myanmar’s population live below the poverty line. No one has been held accountable for the serious crimes committed by government security forces. Human Trafficking in Myanmar. On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, three women survivors tell us their stories. The paper aims to This is monumental for ASEAN as the ACTIP is the first legally-binding regional instrument to tackle human trafficking. Like other Mekong countries, human trafficking in Myanmar is seriously rising in scope and numbers. Military and civilian officials systematically used men, women, and children for forced labor for the development of infrastructure and state-run agricultural and commercial ventures, as well as forced portering for the military. The Myanmar regime reported investigating 155 cases of trafficking, prosecuting 410 individuals, and convicting 88 offenders in 2009, an increase from 342 reported prosecutions in 2008; however, these statistics included 12 cases of abduction for adoption, which are not considered “trafficking” by international standards. Girls should know about this; they need to protect themselves,” said a police officer on the taskforce. She says in 8 out of 10 cases, women are trafficked as brides and another 20 per cent are trafficked to birth babies. [2] Despite a report of a child labor case involving as many as 100 children on an agricultural plantation near Rangoon, the regime did not report any efforts to investigate the allegation. The government continued to incarcerate six individuals who reported forced labor cases involving the regime to the International Labour Organization (ILO) or were otherwise active in working with the ILO on forced labor issues. The broker from her village was arrested but didn’t disclose her location. There were no shelter facilities available to male victims of trafficking. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, Htoi Director Nang Pu started her journey as a religious leader, later becoming a social worker, activist and defender of women’s rights. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, In Hka Shi village, Waingmaw township, a woman enrolled in the catfish farming training says she is thankful she can do it from home, while caring for her baby. In 2002, Human Rights Watch reported in "My Gun was as Tall as Me: Child Soldiers in Burma" that Myanmar was the world's largest recruiter of child soldiers. [8], Victims of forced labor cases are not protected from countersuit by regime officials. According to Htoi, in 8 out of 10 cases, women are trafficked as brides and another 20 per cent are trafficked to birth babies. *All names have been changed and family names avoided to protect survivos’ identity, Khawng Nu, now 24, was duped by a woman from her rural village in Myanmar, who sent her to a birth trafficking ring in China. Also, as measures against the recruitment and use of child soldiers, more resources have been allocated for awareness raising efforts. For victims of human trafficking, Doctors Without Borders is often the only access to health care they have. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, Khawng Tse, a 35-year-old internally displaced person (IDP) from Ayeyar Ward in the city of Myitkyina, Khawng Tse is completing her sewing classes and will receive a sewing machine from Htoi, with the support of UN Women. The regime did not identify any male trafficking victims. In 2005, Myanmar passed an anti-trafficking law, but trafficking is still rampant in the conflict-affected state, especially in the northern region, where it borders China. Photo: UN Women/Stuart Mannion, Burmese trafficking survivor Mun Pan was told that she would work as a butcher or in a phone factory in China. The programme helps survivors and potential trafficking victims re-enrol in school or join vocational training programmes, where they learn both traditional skills like weaving, sewing and handicrafts, as well as new skills, such as fish farming and how to cultivate high-value crops, such as mushrooms, silkworm-mulberry and organic cotton. Five of them were rescued, including Mun Pan. These migrants often lack basic education and access to social security benefits. Additionally, court proceedings are not open and lack due process for defendants. The regime did not have in place formal victim identification procedures. “They are not allowed to breastfeed or to give their babies a name.”. June 11, 2015. Burmese armed forces (Tatmadaw) operations in several areas of the country continued to dislocate thousands of Rohingya and members of other ethnic groups, many of whom were vulnerable to trafficking in Burma and elsewhere in the region as a result of their displacement. [2], Myanmar made limited efforts to prevent international human trafficking over the last year, and made few discernible efforts to prevent the more prevalent internal trafficking, particularly forced labor and child conscription by regime officials and ethnic armed groups. In the same case, an additional two privates were sentenced to three months' and one-month military imprisonment, respectively. However, three fundamental issues will impede the successful eradication of human trafficking in the ASEAN region. During the reporting period, 17 complainants and their associates in a series of forced labor cases involving 328 farmers in Magwe Division were prosecuted and jailed by local authorities for their role in reporting forced labor perpetrated by local government officials. In forced labor cases, some victims, notably 17 individuals in Magwe Division, were harassed, detained, or otherwise penalized for making accusations against officials who pressed them into forced labor. The regime cooperated with the ILO on the issue of the military's conscription of children, resulting in the return of 31 children to their families. Women of Myanmar who migrate to Thailand, China, and Malaysia for economic opportunities are found in situations of forced labor and forced prostitution. The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis CdeBaca, and Myanmar Police Chief Major General Zaw Win concurred in the need for government-civil society partnerships, health care, and prevention. She hopes to set up her own tailoring business. 84. They gave me various medicines and injections and didn’t explain why.”. Men and thousands of boys as young as 10 years old are forcibly recruited (due often to desertions) to serve in the National Army and ethnic armed groups through intimidation, coercion, threats, and violence. [2], While forced labor is widely considered to be the most serious trafficking problem in Myanmar, authorities reported that most trafficking cases investigated and prosecuted involved women and girls subjected to forced marriage or intended to be subjected to forced marriage. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were sometimes allowed access to victims in government shelters, but the regime continued to bar NGOs from operating shelters for trafficking victims. Nonetheless, serious problems remain in Myanmar, and in some areas, most notably in the area of forced labor, the Government of Myanmar is not complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Children of Myanmar are subjected to forced labor as sellers and beggars in Thailand. During the reporting period, the government signed Memoranda of Understanding with China and Thailand on trafficking in persons. While in government facilities, victims had access to counseling, thought it was often substandard, but had limited access to social workers. In December 2009, the military of Myanmar reported that it dismissed a captain from the military via court martial and sentenced him to one year of imprisonment in a civilian jail for child soldier recruitment – the first ever criminal conviction of a military official involved in child soldier recruitment. Since independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar's political situation has been unstable and involved in civil conflicts, which has led to an increase in the recruitment of child soldiers. Myanmar Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day falls on 13th September every year when Myanmar Anti-human Trafficking Law was enacted. Khawng Nu recalls seeing some 40 women on the floor of the building she was kept; some as young as 16. As illegal immigrants, they are often arrested and deported back to Myanmar. Khawng Nu’s parents had to borrow from neighbours to pay the 10 million MMK (USD 6,320) ‘fine’. [7], A lack of job opportunities in Myanmar has contributed to the rise of human trafficking operations; the trade is now no longer targeting just rural areas, but is reaching the country's major cities. The ethnic minorities from Myanmar working in Thailand were also found to have the lowest education in all minor workers surveyed, at about 1.3 years, and Burmese were found to have only a slightly higher education level, on average roughly four years. The drugs seized in the 2019-2020 … Khawng Nu* was 22 years old when she was trafficked from the state of Kachin, northern Myanmar, to China. [11], A 2018 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT) found that thousands of women and girls are trafficked from Myanmar to China to be forced into marriage and childbirth.[12][13]. Human trafficking takes on various forms within Myanmar, including forced labor, the use of child soldiers for the Myanmar government, and sex trafficking and prostitution. In this blog, Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, and Jeremy Douglas, who represents the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, explain how the United Nations and the Thai government … The central government did not intervene with local authorities to stop the politically motivated harassment, including lengthy interrogations, of the forced labor complainants. The government has yet to address the systemic political and economic problems that cause the people of Myanmar to seek employment through both legal and illegal means in neighboring countries. Economic con… The government reported identifying 302 victims, most of whom were victims of forced marriage rather than explicitly trafficking victims, and reported assisting an additional 425 victims identified and repatriated by foreign governments in 2009, including 293 from China and 132 from Thailand. Human trafficking is a heinous crime that shatters lives, families and dreams. Moreover, the number of women who fall victim to human trafficking is four times larger than that of male victims. For national, bi- and multilateral laws and agreements on human trafficking involving Myanmar, please see the resource section. Rescued from Human Trafficking in Myanmar Samaritan's Purse is teaching people in Myanmar about safe migration. Human trafficking is a serious crime that affects men, women and children around the world. Myanmar has joined China, Syria and South Sudan as being among the countries doing least to tackle human trafficking, according to the US State Department's latest annual Trafficking in … As many as 2.5 million people are being trafficked around the world at any one time, according to the United Nations. Tackling Human Trafficking in the Mekong Subregion JICA participates in annual anti-human trafficking event at Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok. Tackling transnational crime is everybody’s concern. Myanmar is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to human trafficking, specifically forced labor, and for women and children, forced prostitution in other countries. Nevertheless, these shortcomings can be addressed with the advantages that come with the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN this year. Many men, women, and children from Thailand, Malaysia, China, Bangladesh, India, and South Korea who migrate abroad for work are trafficked into conditions of forced or bonded labor or commercial sexual exploitation. A UN Women programme is supporting local partner, Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, in providing legal support and vocational training to survivors. Yangon [Myanmar], January 5 (ANI/Xinhua): Myanmar logged a total of 111 human trafficking cases in its states and regions last year, state-run … The programme ran between 2017 and 2019, with funding from the UK Department for International ... transparency and the use of child workers in the cocoa and textile industries in Myanmar, Ghana, the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh. Sex trafficking in Myanmar is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and slavery that occurs in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.Myanmar is primarily a source and transit country for sexually trafficked persons. Myanmar prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, which prescribes criminal penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for rape. While facing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, regional countries including Myanmar are dealing with the growing transnational crimes. A UN Women programme is supporting local partner, Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, in providing legal support and vocational training to survivors. There are few job opportunities in the conflict affected and impoverished state, so when a woman from her village offered her work in a factory in China, Khawng Nu happily accepted. To further spread the messages locally, 35 community mobilizers were identified among those taking the training and given additional training, posters and leaflets to distribute locally. Drug trafficking has long been a problem in the Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand’s Chiang Rai province meets Myanmar and Laos. Some undocumented people, including Rohingya entering Myanmar from Bangladesh, also sneak into Thailand, from where they are smuggled to Malaysia. This year, the events were organized as the fifth year nationwide in different cities and townships by the Government. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law was established in Myanmar in 2005 and Myanmar was the first country in the Mekong region to pass a comprehensive anti-human trafficking law in line with international standards. Men are subjected to forced labor in the fishing[1] and construction industries abroad. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Myanmar's military government, has not acknowledged the prevalence of human rights issues within their country, specifically human trafficking. The regime sustained partnerships with Mekong region governments and the UN in the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT), and hosted the COMMIT Senior Officials Meeting in January 2010. [2] Military and civilian officials subject men, women, and children to forced labor. The minors from Myanmar that work in Thailand usually left for economic reasons. [2] The government also reported investigating, prosecuting, and convicting some internal trafficking offenders, though there was only one reported criminal prosecution of a member of the National Army for his role in child soldier cases. The regime did not permit UNICEF access to children who were released through the government's mechanisms for follow-up purposes. And access to counseling, thought it was often substandard, but four complainants remain in prison town Mae. Neighbours to pay the 10 million MMK ( USD 6,320 ) ‘ fine ’ cent are as! 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