A new report by KWAT reveals an alarming increase in trafficking of young Kachin women and girls from Burma.
They are being sold as wives in provinces across China, being forced into the Chinese and Burmese sex industries, or simply disappearing without trace at the Chinese border.
The report "Driven Away – Trafficking of Kachin Women on the China-Burma Border" is based on 63 trafficking cases that occurred primarily during 2000-2004. The cases involve 85 women and girls, mostly between the ages of 14 and 20.
Women were trafficked as far as the North Korean border to be wives of Chinese men. Some managed to escape only after years of captivity, having borne children for their captors.
Failed state policies in Burma are identified as key trafficking “push factors.” Militarization, neglect of social services and unsustainable development policies have caused spiraling poverty and driven increasing numbers of young Kachin people to migrate to work.
“Many girls were trafficked when they were trying to earn money for their school fees during their holidays,” said Gum Khong, a researcher for the report.
The report questions the effectiveness of current anti-trafficking measures being promoted by the Burmese military regime. “You can’t address the problem of trafficking in Burma without challenging state policies. For this to happen, there must be political reform,” said KWAT coordinator Shirley Seng.