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.
Seng Ing Nu travelled to China with her aunt, her aunt’s friend and a Chinese man. The four travelled to what turned out to be the Chinese man’s family home and Seng Ing Nu’s aunt left her there. The man bought her and forced her into marriage. After 3 years she was able to escape in 2013, however she never saw her son again.
The broker was my auntie. She persuaded me. I didn’t understand the relationship between my auntie and the Chinese man.
My aunt told me ahead of time that I shouldn’t talk about what happens to me. From the first night when we arrived in the Chinese man’s house, I had to sleep with him. At the beginning of the night, he followed me around. There were only two rooms. I heard that they worried about me trying to run away.
In the beginning I did not miss my son, because I thought he was no my baby – only the Chinese man’s baby. But now I got married to another man and had another baby. Now I miss him often.
When they [the KIO] heard about my story they started to plan to punish the broker. They considered whether to put her in jail or kill her… the sentence was going to be too harsh – I didn’t want it to be so strict. According to our beliefs, killing another person is something we should never do.
[Seng Ing Nu sent a message to the KIO leadership]
The message said, ‘I am fine now. I feel better. Don’t hurt her anymore.
[The broker was not punished and remained Seng In Nu’s neighbour]
Whenever I meet her again I feel upset and frustrated. Like something – a bad feeling – in my heart. But I try to forgive her. But everyone in the village knows that she’s still trafficking, even now.
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