The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them.
Ja Tawng was offered a job in China in a sugarcane field. She brought her two children with her, however upon arrival they were trafficked together.
[W]e lost everything we had. We had to leave everything when we ran from our village. I became separated from my husband. I stayed in the jungle and hid there with my babies. When my babies became hungry, I had to check the conditions outside the jungle. If it seemed stable, I would sneak out and go to the sugarcane field to find food for them.
[Ja Tawng found her husband and they settled in an abandoned house that seemed safe]
But after staying there for a while, the jet fighters came. They shot everything they could see. They shot for four or five days and they started from the early morning from seven or eight a.m. They shot villagers and whomever they saw. They didn’t care. All the villagers had to run and hide. All the villagers fled. The kids had to hide under rocks. My children and I hid in banana fields. The road was very muddy, so the kids cried out a lot. They lost their shoes in the muddy road. The jet fighters’ missiles almost hit us. But we got away.
[After several weeks a friend told Ja Tawng she could get work in China in a sugarcane field. Ja Tawng went, bringing her two children. They were trafficked twice together]
He took a rope – he showed it to me and my children. “If you try to run away form here, look at this – I will tied you up,” he said.
[The KWA worker helped recover Ja Tawng after she was trafficked and the KIO arrested the broker who had trafficked her]
After 15 days she confessed. They were able to be released quickly. The did such a crime, taking away my human dignity.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “Give Us a Baby and We’ll Let You Go”: Trafficking of Kachin “Brides” from Myanmar to China