Torture in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
 

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                      gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Burma.htm

Union of Myanmar (Burma)

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's increasing oil and gas revenue, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated because of the regime's mismanagement of the economy.

The September 2007 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, including thousands of monks, strained the economy as the tourism industry, which directly employs about 500,000 people, suffered dramatic declines in foreign visitor levels.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Burma

Burma is a source country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Burmese women and children are trafficked to Thailand, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and South Korea for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor. Some Burmese migrating abroad for better economic opportunities wind up in situations of forced or bonded labor or forced prostitution.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   [full country report]

 

 

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Burma.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.

*** FEATURED ARTICLE ***

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony

Mark P. Lagon, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Washington DC, July 9, 2007

2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rm/07/88003.htm

[accessed 13 June 2013]

Last week in Southeast Asia, I met Aye Aye Win, a young Burmese woman who dared to search for work beyond her own tortured country. A recruiter painted a beautiful picture of work in a neighboring country. Aye Aye assumed substantial debt to cover up-front costs required by the recruiter for this job placement.  Together with some 800 Burmese migrants, many children, Aye Aye was "placed" in a shrimp farming and processing factory. But it wasn’t a job. It was a prison camp.

The isolated 10-acre factory was surrounded by steel walls, 15 feet tall with barbed wire fencing, located in the middle of a coconut plantation far from roads. Workers weren’t allowed to leave and were forbidden phone contact with any one outside. They lived in run-down wooden huts, with hardly enough to eat.  Aye Aye is a brave, daring soul. She tried to escape with three other women. But factory guards caught them and dragged them back to the camp. They were punished as an example to others, tied to poles in the middle of the courtyard, and refused food or water. Aye Aye told me how her now beautiful hair was shaved off as another form of punishment, to stigmatize her. And how she was beaten for trying to flee.  Beaten. Tortured. Starved. Humiliated. Is this not slavery??

Thai families partners in child sex trade - Border area's products are drugs and daughters

Andrew Perrin, San Francisco Chronicle, Mae Sai, Thailand, February 6, 2002

www.sfgate.com/news/article/Thai-families-partners-in-child-sex-trade-2877185.php

[accessed 16 August 2012]

When Burmese migrant Ngun Chai sold his 13-year-old daughter into prostitution for $114, his wife, La, had one regret -- they didn't get a good price for her.  "I should have asked for 10,000 baht ($228)," La Chai said. "He robbed us."  She was angry that the agent who bought her eldest child, Saikun, in 1999 took her to Bangkok, some 460 miles away, rather than a nearby city as promised. It did not concern La Chai that Saikun would be forced to have sex with as many as eight men a day.

With prices varying from $114 to $913 -- the latter figure equal to almost six years' wages for most families -- parental bonds in impoverished households are easily broken. In fact, child prostitution is so established that many brothel agents live in the village, and are often friends or relatives of the family from whom they buy the children - htcp

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

Suffer the children

Danielle Bernstein, Asia Times Online, Yangon, Nov 6, 2010

www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/LK06Ae02.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Recent interviews with underage deserters from the Myanmar army conducted by the Karen Human Rights Group in 2009 found that minors were still among those civilians forced to carry military equipment for the army and allied armed groups, or forced to march in front of troops to clear the path of antipersonnel mines.

Burmese brides for sale

Way Yan, Mizzima News, Ruili, 28 October 2008

www.bnionline.net/index.php/feature/mizzima/5247-burmese-brides-for-sale-.html

[accessed 20 August 2014]

Wah Wah was one of the women that Ma Phyu and her gang had sold into slavery.  Wah Wah was sold to a Chinese man living in Sandong, near Beijing, at the price tag of Chinese RMB 20,000 (approximately US$ 2,900). A few weeks later, Wah Wah managed to flee from the clutches of her buyer and made her way back to Ruili earlier this month.  The hapless young lady had nowhere else to go but to return back to her perpetrators, and Ma Phyu was happy when her commodity arrived back in her hands for resale. However, when she tried to sell her to another Chinese man, Wah Wah vehemently refused.  But the traffickers, having already struck a deal and received some advance money, tried to force Wah Wah to accept her newest companion.  As dusk fell over Ruili on that fateful day, Wah Wah was taken by taxi along the road to Namkhan, Burma, a few miles away. Accompanying her in the vehicle were several members of the human trafficker's family.  Eventually, they stopped the taxi next to a paddy field beside the highway in the vicinity of Man Heiro, still in Burmese territory and about 20 miles from Ruili.  "Before leaving Ruili, they were drunk with beer. She was taken to a paddy field near the highway. Then Kyaw Swa started raping her. After that, Bo Bo stabbed her repeatedly. She died from five stab wounds. Then her corpse was left in the nearby drainage," recalls a source from the Chinese police investigation team of the incident.

KWAT: Women enslaved due to economic hardships

Phanida, Mizzima News, Chiang Mai, 05 August 2008

reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/myanmar-kwat-women-enslaved-due-economic-hardships

[accessed 20 August 2014]

Economic hardship and poverty have caused several young women in Burma, particularly in regions where ethnic minorities are residing, to be an easy prey of human trafficking, an ethnic Kachin women group said in a new report.  The Thailand based Kachin Women's Association of Thailand (KWAT) in a new report release today reveal that several young women from northern Burma's Kachin state are being sold by traffickers to Chinese men, who forcibly marry them or use them as maids and slaves.  The report titled 'Eastward Bound', which is based on interviews with 163 human trafficking victims from 2004 to 2007, said nearly 37 per cent of the trafficked women ended up as wives of Chinese men, while about 4 percent are sold as housemaids or to the sex industry.

US Senate 'Trafficking of Burmese Migrants' Report Holds Malaysia and ASEAN Responsible and Demands Immediate Action

Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago, Malaysia Today, 24 April 2009

charlessantiago.org/2009/04/24/us-senate-trafficking-of-burmese-migrants-report-holds-malaysia-and-asean-responsible-and-demands-immediate-action/

[accessed 20 August 2014]

The report suggests that Malaysian authorities are in cohorts with human traffickers in Southern Thailand:   “Burmese migrants are reportedly taken by Malaysian Government personnel from detention facilities to the Malaysia-Thailand border for deportation. Upon arrival at the Malaysia-Thailand border, human traffickers reportedly take possession of the migrants and issue ransom demands on an individual basis. Migrants state that freedom is possible only once money demands are met. Specific payment procedures are outlined, which reportedly include bank accounts in Kuala Lumpur to which money should be transferred. The committee was informed that on some occasions, the ‘‘attendance’’ list reviewed by traffickers along the border was identical to the attendance list read prior to departure from the Malaysian detention facilities.   Migrants state that those unable to pay are turned over to human peddlers in Thailand, representing a variety of business interests ranging from fishing boats to brothels.

Human Traffickers Get Free Rein with Burmese Migrants in Malaysia

Original reporting in Burmese by Kyaw Min Htun.  Written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie, Radio Free Asia RFA, February 8, 2008

www.david-kilgour.com/2008/Feb_09_2008_11.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia live at the mercy of international human-trafficking gangs who sell them back and forth as slave labor with the full knowledge of Malaysian and Thai immigration officials, RFA's Burmese service reports.  Thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Burmese find themselves stuck in a human rights no-man’s-land after losing their legal status, often because employers withhold passports or refuse to pay their return airfares.

Several secret jails or deportation camps exist around the country to hold foreign nationals found without papers. From there, officials take them to the Thai border, where trafficking gangs have close ties to Malaysian officials and have been tipped off to their arrival.

Economic Crisis Fueling Child Labor, Trafficking

Saw Yan Naing, The Irrawaddy, December 18, 2007

www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=9627

[accessed 28 August 2012]

The economic crisis and instability in Burma is driving waves of Burmese children into hard labor, begging and the sex trade, claims exiled Burmese rights groups.

Meanwhile, the results of child trafficking has had a huge impact on the education of many Burmese migrant children, forcing the children into hard labor in factories, sweat shops and even into the sex trade, according to Burmese migrant education groups.  Many victims under the age of 18 have become street beggars and sex workers instead of studying at school, said Paw Ray, the chairperson of the BMWEC, which operates nearly 50 schools for children of Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot.

China claims progress fighting human trafficking

Ben Blanchard, Reuters, Beijing, December 12, 2007

www.reuters.com/article/idUSPEK11308820071212

[accessed 25 January 2011]

There has been a rise in trafficking cases involving Myanmar women in China in particular in recent years.  The women are mostly smuggled through the porous border into the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan and then taken to central and north China, where poverty and a skewed sex ratio means many farmers cannot find wives.  Late last year, China jailed six Myanmar nationals for selling 23 Myanmar girls to Chinese peasants as wives.

Governing Justly and Combating Human Trafficking: The Linkages

Mark P. Lagon, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Dept of State, Remarks at the Freedom House-SAIS "Human Trafficking and Freedom" Event, Washington DC, December 3, 2007

2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rm/07/96171.htm

[accessed 21 July 2013]

The Burmese people represent a case study of repression at home and then vulnerability abroad. Facing a cruel regime, bleak economic conditions and the prospect of forced labor at home, millions of Burmese have had to flee. Among these most vulnerable are girls and women from Burma's ethnic minorities. Rape is widespread in Burma. Shan, Karen, Chin, Mon and other ethnic minority women and girls live in daily fear of sexual violence by their military oppressors. After successfully escaping slavery in Burma, another cruel fate awaits too many Burmese. They are preyed upon by traffickers and exploitative employers. They are pushed into the sex trade or into highly predatory economic sectors in neighboring countries. Fleeing literal enslavement at home, they face extreme exploitation in neighboring countries—these women, migrants and refugees are regularly dehumanized.

Myanmar rebel group denies child soldier claims

Agence France-Presse AFP, Bangkok, Nov 25, 2007

www.abc.net.au/news/2007-11-25/burma-rebel-group-denies-child-soldier-claims/967816

[accessed 25 January 2011]

In a statement released Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that both the military government and rebel groups continued to violate children's rights by recruiting underage soldiers.  Citing a recent UN report, he said that the government was picking up street children or those without national identity cards and offering them the choice of arrest or joining the army.

Myanmar's military government officially denies using child soldiers and has passed a law to outlaw the practice.  But human rights groups say child soldiers in Myanmar remain alarmingly common, with boys as young as 12 recruited to fight the ethnic rebel armies in the country's border regions. - htsc

The Burmese Junta's Hidden Victims

Mark P. Lagon, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Dept of State, The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2007

2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/94556.htm

[accessed 21 July 2013]

Burma's ruling generals systematically employ forced labor to maintain their repressive grip on the country. The regime forces men, women and children to work for its benefit -- providing rice to feed the huge parasitic military force, constructing roads and buildings, and serving as porters for military convoys and human mine sweepers in the battlefields in the border regions. As the regime continues its gross mismanagement of the country and economic and social conditions deteriorate further, the number of victims of trafficking can only be expected to grow.

Facing bleak economic conditions and the prospect of forced labor at home, millions of Burmese have had to flee their homes and villages, usually without legal documents, making them even more vulnerable to human trafficking and the predations of corrupt officials.

Human trafficking helps spread HIV/AIDS in Asia: UN

Ranga Sirilal, Reuters, Colombo, Aug 22, 2007

www.reuters.com/article/idUSL22325220070822

[accessed 25 January 2011]

"Trafficking ... contributes to the spread of HIV by significantly increasing the vulnerability of trafficked persons to infection," said Caitlin Wiesen-Antin, HIV/AIDS regional coordinator, Asia and Pacific, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  "Both human trafficking and HIV greatly threaten human development and security."

Major human trafficking routes run between Nepal and India and between Thailand and neighbors like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Many of the victims are young teenage girls who end up in prostitution.  "The link between human trafficking and HIV/AIDS has only been identified fairly recently," Wiesen-Antin told the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony

Mark P. Lagon, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Washington DC, July 9, 2007

2001-2009.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rm/07/88003.htm

[accessed 13 June 2013]

Last week in Southeast Asia, I met Aye Aye Win, a young Burmese woman who dared to search for work beyond her own tortured country. A recruiter painted a beautiful picture of work in a neighboring country. Aye Aye assumed substantial debt to cover up-front costs required by the recruiter for this job placement.  Together with some 800 Burmese migrants, many children, Aye Aye was "placed" in a shrimp farming and processing factory. But it wasn’t a job. It was a prison camp.

The isolated 10-acre factory was surrounded by steel walls, 15 feet tall with barbed wire fencing, located in the middle of a coconut plantation far from roads. Workers weren’t allowed to leave and were forbidden phone contact with any one outside. They lived in run-down wooden huts, with hardly enough to eat.  Aye Aye is a brave, daring soul. She tried to escape with three other women. But factory guards caught them and dragged them back to the camp. They were punished as an example to others, tied to poles in the middle of the courtyard, and refused food or water. Aye Aye told me how her now beautiful hair was shaved off as another form of punishment, to stigmatize her. And how she was beaten for trying to flee.  Beaten. Tortured. Starved. Humiliated. Is this not slavery??

Myanmar sentences 33 human traffickers to life imprisonment

Xinhua News Agency, February 19, 2007

english.people.com.cn/200702/19/eng20070219_351227.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

According to the report, the human traffickers deceived 49 young Myanmar women to work in a neighboring country, promising them that they will be well paid.  In lasts September, Myanmar authorities also nabbed a 30-member human trafficking gang on the Myanmar-China border in cooperation with the Chinese police force for trafficking 180 Myanmar young women to Ruili in southwest China's Yunnan Province by means of forced marriage and fake marriage, according to the Home Ministry.

Myanmar court sentences woman to 12 years for human trafficking

The Associated Press AP, Yangon, Myanmar, October 28, 2006

www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/28/asia/AS_GEN_Myanmar_Human_Trafficking.php

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

A Myanmar court has sentenced a woman to 12 years in prison for selling two young Myanmar women into prostitution in Malaysia, state-run media said Saturday.  The court in Tachileik, opposite the Thai town of Mae Sai, sentenced Nang Aye Naw, 41, on Oct. 3 under the anti-trafficking in persons law, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.  The report said the woman enticed two young women with false promises of finding a job at a restaurant in Mae Sai but instead sold them at a border town in Malaysia for prostitution.

Senior Officials Meeting for the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) opens [PDF]

"The New Light of Myanmar", Yangon, 27 Oct 2004 -- page 16

www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/NLM2004-10-28.pdf

[accessed 18 February 2013]

[scroll down]  INTERNATIONAL RELATION - SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING FOR THE COORDINATED MEKONG MINISTERIAL INITIATIVE AGAINST TRAFFICKING (COMMIT) OPENS -  In Myanmar, we have, as of last year, formed a Specialist Anti-trafficking Police Unit and Anti-trafficking Task Forces around the border and other hot spot areas. At the same time, we are of course aware, of the absolute need to provide psycho-social support to the victims of trafficking, undertake and improve repatriation and reintegration systems, and provide rehabilitation services for the victims of trafficking and vulnerable groups.

Myanmar exposes 748 human trafficking cases in past four years

Xinhua News Agency, August 05, 2006

english.people.com.cn/200608/05/eng20060805_290239.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Myanmar authorities have exposed 748 human trafficking cases since the work committee for human trafficking prevention was formed in July 2002 to June 2006, according to Saturday's official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar.

During the period, subordinate committees at different levels in 14 states and divisions were able to expose and arrest 1,484 persons -- 815 males and 669 females, and also rescued in time 3, 694 persons -- 1,904 males and 1,790 females, the paper disclosed.

Three Women Arrested in Muse for Human Trafficking

Narinjara Independent Arakanese News Agency, 7/23/2006

bnionline.net/index.php/news/narinjara/279-three-women-arrested-in-muse-for-human-trafficking.html

[accessed 20 August 2014]

According to confirmed sources, some human trafficking syndicates have been dispatching young women from Burma to China, where they are sold for large sums of money.

Myanmar rejects U.S. report on anti-human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, June 20, 2006

english.people.com.cn/200606/20/eng20060620_275589.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Noting that Myanmar passed an anti-trafficking in persons law in September 2005 that covers sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, servitude and debt bondage, the release said during the year, the government prosecuted 426 traffickers in 203 cases under the new law and identified 844 victims.

Mekong region govts to co-op against human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, Phnom Penh, May 7, 2006

news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/07/content_4517342.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Since the signing of the historic COMMIT Memorandum of Understanding in Yangon, Myanmar in October 2004, by Ministers of the six countries, the Governments have been active in laying the foundation for a network of cooperation to stop traffickers and prosecute them, protect victims of trafficking and assist them return safely home, and launch efforts to prevent others from sharing the same fate.

Rice Names 'Outposts of Tyranny'

The Associated Press AP, Jan. 19, 2005

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4186241.stm

[accessed 21 July 2013]

Condoleezza Rice named Cuba, Myanmar, Belarus and Zimbabwe as "outposts of tyranny" requiring close U.S. attention.   The United States accuses the junta ruling Myanmar of human rights abuses including the use of slave labor and forced labor, and the persecution of pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities.

Diminished ILO Visit Spells Trouble

Larry Jagan, Bangkok Post, 03 March 2005

www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1354851/posts

[accessed 25 January 2011]

When the high-level delegation cut short its visit and left Rangoon a week ago, it left the regime with a four-point plan of action: the issuance of clear instructions to the army, and publicity for a campaign, to stop the use of forced labor; a renewed commitment to the previously agreed plan of action on forced labor, after the regime has dragged its feet over the past year; the granting of freedom of movement to the ILO liaison officer in Rangoon, which has been curtailed significantly for some time; and the extension of an amnesty to the third of three people convicted of high treason essentially for having contact with the ILO.

18. Allegations On Exercising Forced Labor in Myanmar [PDF]

OKKAR, Union of Myanmar , August 21, 2000

www.myanmar-information.net/political/english.pdf

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[scroll down to … 18. Allegations On Exercising Forced Labor in Myanmar]

This allegation has been widely and conveniently used against the Government of Myanmar by certain quarters to disseminate disinformation in the attempt to portray her as a cruel and wicked regime. Myanmar since ancient times enjoys the tradition and practice of voluntary contribution of labor in the religious and social sectors.

U.N.: Myanmar Must Stop Forced Labor

Jonathan Fowler, Associated Press AP, Geneva, 25 Mar 2005

www.burmanet.org/news/2005/03/25/associated-press-un-myanmar-must-stop-forced-labor-jonathan-fowler/

[accessed 25 January 2011]

"For years we've had a contradictory message," she said following a meeting of the ILO's governing body. "There is always a promise to do something, a few little steps, then a terrible backlash."

Sex Trafficking Growing In S.E.Asia

Fayen Wong, Reuters, Singapore, April 26, 2005

www.chinapost.com.tw/print/61645.htm

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]

[accessed 20 August 2014]

Girls from the villages of Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines are lured into cities or neighboring countries with promises of lucrative jobs as waitresses and domestic helpers, only to end up in massage parlors and karaoke bars.  Others are flown as far as Australia, Japan, South Africa and the United States to be kept as slaves in brothels -- beaten, drugged, starved or raped in the first days of their reclusion to intimidate and prepare them for clients, the experts say.

4 Myanmar Officials Get Jail Over Forced Labor

Kyodo News International, Yangon, Feb. 3, 2005

www.thefreelibrary.com/4+Myanmar+officials+get+jail+over+forced+labor.-a0128174630

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Four local officials in Myanmar were sentenced to prison terms from eight to 16 months last Monday, for using forced labor in public development projects, a U.N. official said Thursday.  ''This is a very significant development because this is the first time anybody has ever been found guilty of imposing forced labor in Myanmar,'' said Richard Horsey, a liaison officer from the International Labor Organization in Yangon.

Travel Guides and the Burma Debate

Nov 6, 2004

www.gadling.com/2004/11/06/travel-guides-and-the-burma-debate/

[accessed 25 January 2011]

The Burmese democracy movement, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has asked that tourists not visit Burma because it helps fund the regime and because forced labor and child labor is used to develop tourist sites and infrastructure for tourism.

Big Business Keeps Eye on Historic Human Rights Case

Anna Sussman, Pacific News Service, Nov 19, 2004

news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=910d6bde26c3823430b0f878520c3dc1

[accessed 4 September 2011]

One of the plaintiffs, Jane Doe, has testified that her husband was shot when attempting to flee forced labor on the pipeline, and that her baby was killed when thrown into a fire in retaliation for his attempted escape. All 12 plaintiffs remain anonymous for fear of repercussions against them and their family members.

The Protection Project - Myanmar [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

www.protectionproject.org/human_rights_reports/report_documents/myanmar.doc

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women and children are trafficked from Myanmar to Thailand primarily for the purpose of prostitution. Most of the victims are kept in Thai brothels.  An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Myanmar women and girls are prostituted in Thailand; however, in 2002, it was estimated that 10,000 women and children from Myanmar enter into prostitution in Thailand every year alone. In fact, women and children from Myanmar constitute the largest number of migrants forced or lured into prostitution in Thailand. 

Reportedly, Myanmar women and girls are commonly sold to Chinese men as mail-order brides and for the purpose of forced marriage. More than 100 Myanmar women are reported to be living in the Chinese province of Anhwei alone, where they are exploited by their Chinese husbands sexually and forced to work on farms and as housemaids.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 7   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/burma

[accessed 26 June 2012]

Human Rights Overview by Human Rights Watch – Defending Human Rights Worldwide

www.hrw.org/asia/burma

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Harsh Policy Towards Burmese Refugees

Sam Zia-Zarifi, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch/Asia, Special to The Nation (Thailand), January 27, 2004

www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/01/27/thaila7075.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

The Thai government made this decision, despite the fact that the horrendous conditions in Burma have not ceased. Burmese continue to flee abuses such as forced labor, persecution of dissidents, conscription of child soldiers, rape of ethnic minority women and children by government troops, and forced relocation.

Conscripts - Soldiers of misfortune

Alex Perry, Reported by Robert Horn/Karen state, Burma, TIME-Asia, 2006

www.badasf.org/slavery/timeasia-childsavery.htm#five

[accessed 29 August 2011]

For years, sein win's job in the burmese army was to guard citizens who had been forced into hard labor, building the nation's roads, railways, helipads and barracks. "We threatened them with guns to make them work," says Sein Win, now 20, who recently deserted from the military. "No soldier would dare be kind to the villagers because the officers would beat us if we showed them any mercy."

Now Program on Burma and the Alien Torts Claims Act

Posted by Randy Paul in weblog Human Rights and weblog International Law, January 12, 2004

beautifulhorizons.typepad.com/weblog/2004/01/now_program_on_.html

[accessed 20 August 2014]

Last week on NOW with Bill Moyers, there was a segment that dealt with this issue and the specific case in Burma in which several Burmese citizens are suing the oil company, Unocal over allegations of complicity with slave labor that the Burmese military (which provided security for a oil pipeline that Unocal was building).

Oral intervention delivered by Anti-Slavery International on 6 April 2004

Anti-Slavery International, Oral intervention, UN Commission on Human Rights 60th session, 6 April 2004

old.antislavery.org/archive/submission/submission2004-CHRchild.htm

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]

[accessed 20 August 2014]

ITEM 13 RIGHTS OF THE CHILD - Restrictions of freedom of movement, as Rohingya children and their parents are virtually confined to their village tracts. The need to obtain travel passes limits their access to health, education and employment, thus severely affecting the livelihood of the family.

In the field of health and education, they are particularly neglected. Sixty per cent of the Muslim children of Northern Rakhine State are said to suffer from malnutrition and the level of illiteracy is extremely high.

Restriction of access to food through a series of constraints, including arbitrary taxation and extortion, is the main strategy of the regime to encourage departure, and a major root cause of the ongoing exodus to Bangladesh.

Increasingly, measures are being imposed to control birth and to limit expansion of the Rohingya population. Unlike other people of Burma, the Rohingyas must apply for permission to get married, which is only granted in exchange for high bribes and can take up to several years to obtain. To register their children's birth, parents are charged fees that significantly increased in 2003. Moreover, building a new house or repairing or extending an existing dwelling also require authorisation, resulting in overcrowded and precarious living conditions, affecting women and children.

Many Rohingya children are subject to forced labour. Cultural practices in the Rohingya community prevent women from participating in activities outside of their homes. As male adults are busy earning the daily wage to feed the family, the burden of carrying out forced labour duties often falls on children.

Solar Health Clinics in Burma

Geoffrey Schöning, SEI Newsletter Issue 17 - May 2004

www.earthplatform.com/burmese/military

At one time the full article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

[scroll down to Solar Health Clinics in Burma]

BACKGROUND - The Eastern area of Burma (often referred to as Myanmar), along the border with Thailand is a zone that has been under siege for the past several decades. The Burmese military have been constantly oppressing the indigenous peoples of this area, burning villages and crops, forcing men and women into slavery, raping, and killing.

In the past, it was possible to escape to refugee camps within the Thai border, and currently there is a string of refugee camps along the border with Thailand, the largest of which houses 45,000 people. However, political developments between Burma and Thailand have made it increasingly difficult to come to Thailand. Consequently, about 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in hiding surrounded by landmines without health care and permanent shelter

US House of Reps. Extends Burma Sanctions in Landslide

United States Campaign for Burma, Washington DC, June 14th, 2004

groups.yahoo.com/group/freeburma9999/message/670

[accessed 19 April 2012]

[scroll down]

The regime's brutality is well-documented. According to credible nongovernmental organizations, it has imprisoned over 1,500 political prisoners, conscripted up to 70,000 child soldiers, carries out a modern form of slavery, and uses rape as a weapon of war.

Case Study: Corvée (Forced) Labour

Adam Jones, Gendercide Watch

www.gendercide.org/case_corvee.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

FOCUS (4): MYANMAR (BURMA) TODAY - Forced labour in Myanmar/Burma involves large numbers of children and women as well as adult males. In 1998, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights "specifically addressed the issue of women victims of forced labour. ... He noted that increasing numbers of women, including young girls and the elderly, had reportedly been forced to work, without receiving remuneration or being provided with food, on infrastructure projects and to act as porters in war zones, even when they were pregnant or nursing their infants. ... They had been reported to have been used not only as porters, but also as human shields and had been sexually abused by soldiers" (para. 190). Frequently, women, along with children of both sexes, are conscripted into corvée labour when male heads of household must work to provide the family income: in most cases, the military insists that one or more persons from a household be turned over for forced labour, but places no restrictions on gender or age. An exception to the general willingness to draft female labour is the corvée imposed upon the Rohingya people from the Rakhine State in northern Myanmar, one of the ethnic groups most extensively targeted for the practice. Among the Rohingya, "the burden of forced labour ... fell entirely on the male members of the household."

"Trading Women" Filmmaker Shatters Myths about Human Trafficking

Vicki Silverman, Washington File Staff Writer, U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs, 11 September 2003

iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2003/09/20030911115501namrevlisv0.2781031.html#axzz3AwlMjpJ9

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also  be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM IN ASIA - "One thing our research showed, for a highland girl in Thailand -- not from across the border -- the single greatest risk factor to being trafficked or otherwise exploited is lack of citizenship. If you don't have citizenship, you cannot get a diploma nor are you allowed to travel outside your area. It creates vulnerabilities and there are between 400,000 and 500,000 hill people in Thailand who are not citizens, meaning they are vulnerable," Feingold said.

"If you look at where the key problem of trafficking is (in this area of Southeast Asia), it is in Burma. The majority of girls who are trafficked come from Burma. For the Shan women, the way they express their choices are to stay home and get raped by the Burmese army for free, or come down to Thailand and do sex work for money. This is not a choice anyone should ever have to make," he said.

Thailand struggles to halt human trafficking

Asia Child Rights, October 2, 2003

www.burmatoday.net/kaowao/2003/10/031012_thailand_kaowao.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Local migrant advocacy groups say the Chiang Mai raid, like other actions taken against human trafficking, had netted Burmese women voluntarily engaged in prostitution. Now, they say, those women may be worse off than before.

These groups accuse the US-funded anti-trafficking task force that led the raid of steamrolling women's rights and treating all sex workers as victims. "The women didn't feel like they were rescued because they lost their money.... They felt like they were trapped," says Hseng Noung, of the Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN), who interviewed ethnic Shan women detained in the raid. "Being forced to work physically is one thing, but these women were forced to work by their situation."

Oil-gas giant faces landmark trial over slavery in Myanmar

Kathy George, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 1, 2003

www.seattlepi.com/local/150576_human01.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

The soldiers' true role was to force villagers in the pipeline region to work without pay -- a modern form of slavery, the 9th Circuit opinion said.  And Unocal knew, both before and after investing in the project, that the military was enslaving the people, the opinion said.

Unocal's own consultant, former military attache John Haseman, reported to Unocal in December 1995 that the soldiers were committing "egregious human rights violations" along the pipeline route.  "The most common are forced relocation without compensation of families from land near/along the pipeline route, forced labor to work on infrastructure projects supporting the pipeline ... and imprisonment and/or execution by the army of those opposing such actions," Haseman told Unocal in a report quoted in court records.

Thai families partners in child sex trade - Border area's products are drugs and daughters

Andrew Perrin, San Francisco Chronicle, Mae Sai, Thailand, February 6, 2002

www.sfgate.com/news/article/Thai-families-partners-in-child-sex-trade-2877185.php

[accessed 16 August 2012]

When Burmese migrant Ngun Chai sold his 13-year-old daughter into prostitution for $114, his wife, La, had one regret -- they didn't get a good price for her.  "I should have asked for 10,000 baht ($228)," La Chai said. "He robbed us."  She was angry that the agent who bought her eldest child, Saikun, in 1999 took her to Bangkok, some 460 miles away, rather than a nearby city as promised. It did not concern La Chai that Saikun would be forced to have sex with as many as eight men a day.

With prices varying from $114 to $913 -- the latter figure equal to almost six years' wages for most families -- parental bonds in impoverished households are easily broken. In fact, child prostitution is so established that many brothel agents live in the village, and are often friends or relatives of the family from whom they buy the children - htcp

New Coalition urges UK Government to stop investment in Burma

Anti-Slavery International, 18 March 2002

www.thefreelibrary.com/Tutu+tells+Britain%3A+It%27s+time+to+act+over+Burma.-a083908269

At one time the full article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said: "Burma's military has put millions of civilians into forced labour, imprisoned hundreds of political prisoners, has created more child soldiers than any other country in the world, and has forcibly 'relocated' half a million ethnic people".

Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery

United Press International UPI, Chicago, April 24, 2001

humanrightscivics1.wikifoundry.com/page/Sex+Slaves

[accessed 20 August 2014]

Statistical estimates indicate 300,000 women have been sold into the sex trade in Western Europe in the last 10 years, and since 1990, 80,000 women and children from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, Laos and China have been sold into Thailand's sex industry.

Silver Cos. needn't look far to find some slave-museum artifacts

Rick Mercier, The Free Lance-Star, December 1, 2001

www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2001/122001/12012001/461253/index_html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Last year, the ILO condemned the Burmese military's "widespread and systematic" use of forced labor as "a modern form slavery," and called on governments, labor unions, and employers to take steps to ensure they were not helping to sustain the Burmese junta's practice of enslaving its citizens.

There are a couple of ways that Burmese imports enrich Burma's slavemasters and contribute to their ability to continue enslaving people, according to the Free Burma Coalition.  First, Burma's military dictatorship charges a 5 percent tax on all exports from Burma, and much of that revenue goes straight to the military. Second, the junta retains partial ownership of most factories in Burma, with profits going largely to the military.  Moreover, the coalition says, Burmese imports never even would have made it to places like Central Park had it not been for roads and other infrastructure back in Burma that were built with slave labor.

ILO team completes mission to assess forced labor in Myanmar

Agence France-Presse AFP, Rangoon, 27 October 2000

www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/200010/msg00110.html

[accessed 25 January 2011]

An International Labor Organisation (ILO) team has completed a six-day mission to Myanmar to assess the junta's efforts to stamp out forced labor, officials said Friday.

"They are not completely happy with what they have seen so far, and want to see more progress being made (on ending forced labor)," the source said.  "However, there are signs of goodwill on the part of the Burmese, who were cooperative. The team managed to see everyone they wanted to see."

2000 Update on Forced Labor and Forced Relocations

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2000

www.dol.gov/ILAB/media/reports/ofr/burma2000/forced.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

Since the Department of Labor's 1998 report, there has been little change in the situation with regard to the use of forced labor in Burma. However, there has been some significant action by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on this matter. Forced labor continues to be used with impunity by authorities throughout the country for infrastructure development projects and to support military operations. Reports also suggest that people continue to work under very poor conditions and suffer from human rights abuses. There is little new information with regard to allegations of forced labor related to the Yadana Pipeline. Available information suggests that forced relocations are becoming a growing problem in Burma, and forced labor often goes hand in hand with the policy of forced relocations. While the circumstances in Burma may not have improved greatly, the international community has taken an additional action against the current regime through the ILO's adoption of an emergency resolution on forced labor in Burma, which resulted in the exclusion of Burma from almost all participation in the ILO.

UK firm linked to Burma slavery

Maggie O'Kane, The Guardian, 27 July 2000

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/jul/27/burma

[accessed 25 January 2011]

The Burmese have been accused of using "security" issues in the pipeline area of Tanasserim to drive ethnic Karen people from the land. There are now 120,000 Karen living in refugee camps and human rights groups say at least 30,000 Karen have been killed. The army's tactics include rape and summary executions.

The report says the army was extorting money from local people and using children and forced unpaid labour - described by the special UN rapporteur to Burma as a modern form of slavery - to build military barracks.  "The harsh conditions of those carrying out the labour, including young children and the testimony of local people, belies the government claim that such work is voluntary," said the report.

Welcome to Free Burma

Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University, 2007

ny.xmu.edu.cn/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=1812

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[scroll down]

The country of Burma is lush, rich in natural resources and home to dozens of peoples and cultures.  But due to a military government of isolationist economic mismanagement, the 45 million people there live without their human rights and in extreme poverty.  The country of Burma has been under military dictatorship since 1962.

The Boston Tea Party Revisited:Massachusetts Boycotts Burma

Robert Stumberg and William Waren, "State Legislatures Magazine", National Conference of State Legislatures NCSL, May 1999

www.amazon.com/The-Boston-party-revisited-Massachusetts/dp/B00098S5EG

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Political repression. When the military government of Burma lost more than 80 percent of the seats in parliament to the National League for Democracy in 1990, it repudiated the election and began closing NLD offices and jailing the party’s legislators. The government has waged war against rural ethnic minorities, who supported the NLD commitment to create a federal system with regional self-government.

Forced labor. Burma is building its commercial infrastructure with labor forced at the point of a gun. In the previous decade, more than 5.5 million people have been forced to work on construction of airport runways, railroads, highways and agricultural irrigation systems. Seven percent of Burma’s economy is based on this slavery.

Rape and brutality. The most common form of forced labor is military portering. Even old people, women and teenagers are required to carry military supplies on their backs. Porters are forced to walk ahead of troops to detonate mines and act as human shields in combat against Burma’s own ethnic minorities. Soldiers often beat porters with rifle butts and have forced teenagers to execute other porters who could no longer work. Women porters are separated at night from the men and are frequently raped by the soldiers.

Displacement of populations in Western Burma (Myanmar)

Anti-Slavery International, UN Economic & Social Council Commission on Human Rights 55th Session

Item 14(c) Specific Groups and Issues - Mass Exoduses and Displaced Persons, Geneva 19 April 1999

old.antislavery.org/archive/submission/submission1999-01dis.htm

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]

[accessed 20 August 2014]

In Burma, the widespread repression of ethnic minorities and the countrywide practice of forced labour as documented in the ILO Commission of Inquiry report dated 2 July 1998, have led to an unprecedented displacement of populations.

So-called "development programmes" consist mostly of infrastructure projects carried out with unpaid forced labour and extortion from the local population. New roads are built to facilitate military penetration and to control border trade for the economic interest of the military. These projects have thus provided little improvement to the inhabitants of these regions, but rather persecution and impoverishment.

In Sagaing Division, Naga villagers are used as forced labour to upgrade roads for military purposes, and are forced to become porters and recruits for the troops.

In the Kabaw Valley in Sagaing Division, a resettlement programme for landless families from Central Burma was implemented, but the local Kuki villagers were forced to clear the land.

In Sagaing Division, a series of dam projects for irrigation has led to land confiscation, destruction of sacred sites and forests, as well as extensive forced labour.

The Kalay-Pakkoku railway was built with the forced labour of thousands of villagers and prisoners.

In Chin State, similar demands for forced labour, portering, extortion, as well as increased religious persecutions against Christians have spread fear and put a toll on the economic survival of the people.

In Arakan State, Rakhine villagers have not been spared from the so-called "development policies" of the regime. They are constantly used as forced labour on road constructions, tourism projects, plantations and shrimp farms for the commercial benefits of the army.

These military practices have meant that many people are no longer able to grow enough food or otherwise earn enough income to support their families. They have been impoverished to such an extent that they have no other option than leaving their homes in search of a means of survival.

Unwanted and Unprotected:Burmese Refugees in Thailand

Human Rights Watch, Burma/Thailand, Vol. 10, No. 6, September 1998

www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/reports98/thai/

[accessed 20 August 2014]

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS - At almost no time since Burmese asylum seekers started arriving on Thai soil in 1984 has the need for protection of this group been greater.1 Human rights violations inside Burma continue almost a decade after the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) seized power in Burma in September 1988. The announcement on November 15, 1997 that SLORC had been dissolved and replaced by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has done nothing to improve the situation, and refugees continue to flow into Thailand. As of September 1998, there were over 110,000 refugees in camps along the Thai-Burmese border and hundreds of thousands more in Thailand who were unable or unwilling to stay within the refugee camps but who had suffered clear abuse at the hands of the Burmese government. Deportations of undocumented Burmese migrants, some of whom would have a clear claim to refugee status had they been permitted to make one, were also on the increase.

Modern Form of Slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand

Human Rights Watch, Asia Watch and the Women's Rights Project, August 1993

www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1993/thailand/

[accessed 4 September 2011]

IV. TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS

A. RECRUITMENT

THE MONEY - For all but two of the twenty-six Burmese women and girls trafficked through Mae Sai, the cash transaction that sealed the recruit's fate took place in the town of Mae Sai itself, the point of entry into Thailand. (In the other two cases, the "small agent" made direct payments to the girl's family in her village.) In most cases, the girls, accompanied by parent, brother, aunt, friend or teacher, met the agent on the Thai side of the border, where the agent gave the girl's companion a sum ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 baht ($40 to $800). The average seemed to be about 5,000 baht ($200). It is not clear whether this payment was understood by the recipient as a recruitment fee, a gift, a purchase (of the woman or girl), reimbursement for travel expenses or a cash advance to buy clothes and other necessities. The terms of the payment were never explained to the woman or girl. It only became clear once she was in the brothel that the owner perceived it as credit against future earnings that she must work off, with interest. In at least one case, it seemed as though the Mae Sai agent functioned as a regular moneylender; while the daughter was working in a brothel in Klong Yai, the agent who had originally given 5,000 baht ($200) to the father reportedly loaned the father another 20,000 baht ($800) at his request. The daughter was to be kept in thrall to the brothel owner until the additional loan was paid off.

Once the money changed hands, the Mae Sai agent often arranged through the local police to send the woman or girl, usually with two or three other new recruits, sometimes with as many as ten, in a truck or van directly to a brothel or to another agent at a way station en route to Bangkok -- usually Chiangrai. Of those we interviewed, twenty ended up in Bangkok. Two went to brothels in Samut Sakhorn; one to Klong Yai near the Thai-Cambodian border; one to Prachinburi; one to Kanchanaburi; one to Chiangrai; one to Mae Lim (Chiangmai province) and three to Ranong.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61603.htm

[accessed 25 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The government made limited progress on trafficking in persons during the year. The government's pervasive security controls, restrictions on the free flow of information, and lack of transparency prevented a comprehensive assessment of trafficking in persons activities in the country. While experts agreed that human trafficking from the country was substantial, no organization, including the government, was able or willing to estimate the number of victims. The government did not allow an independent assessment of its reported efforts to combat the problem.

Trafficking of women and girls to Thailand and other countries, including China, India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, and countries in the Middle East, for sexual exploitation, factory labor, and as household servants, was a problem. Shan and other ethnic minority women and girls were trafficked across the border from the north; Karen and Mon women and girls were trafficked from the south. There was evidence that internal trafficking generally occurred from poor agricultural and urban centers to areas where prostitution flourished (trucking routes, mining areas, and military bases) as well as along the borders with Thailand, China, and India. Men and boys also reportedly were trafficked to other countries for sexual exploitation and labor. While most observers believed that the number of these victims was at least several thousand per year, there were no reliable estimates.

Human traffickers appeared to be primarily free‑lance, small‑scale operators using village contacts that fed victims to more established trafficking "brokers".

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 24-01-1997

sim.law.uu.nl/SIM/CaseLaw/uncom.nsf/0/0f90115e70a4b29ec125663c00343b92?OpenDocument

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[24] Furthermore, the Committee expresses its regret that insufficient measures are being taken to address the problems of child abuse, including sexual abuse, and the sale and trafficking of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It is especially concerned by the fact that a significant number of girls, and sometimes boys, are victims of transnational trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in brothels across the border.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Myanmar (Burma)", http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Burma.htm, [accessed <date>]

 

 
Torture in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Myanmar (Burma)]  [other countries]