There are an estimated 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in Chian (GSI 2018). 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. Kachin people are an ethnic minority who are predominantly Christian. Armed conflict between Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army has made life in the area difficult. This was exacerbated in 2011 with the end of a cease fire that left over 100,000 people internally displaced. In the camp where many of these people live there is little opportunity to earn a living. The government have made it worse by blocking aid to displaced people. This has led to women and girls becoming particularly vulnerable to trafficking as they search for jobs outside the country, often in China.
Seng Mai was a teenager when she was trafficked from Kachin State to China and sold to a Chinese family as a bride. Held against her will and subjected to sexual slavery but managed to escape after several months.
I thought that I was the only one who had escaped. But it wasn’t just me. Some returned only after they had given birth. So there are a lot of such survivors.
The father of a Chinese man who was 22 years old at that time, he seemed to pick me. Right then, the woman told us that we were there not to babysit but to marry men.
There are some who do not dare to work any job due to their embarrassment. So they find it difficult to reintegrate into the social life.
Narrative provided by Human Rights watch