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.
Bennu was living in a Kachin refugee camp when she was trafficked to China and forced to have a sexual relationship with a Chinese man. She was also forced to do all the housework. Bennu was able to escape with the help of a fellow Kachin man.
In addition to having a sexual relationship with the Chinese man, I had to do housework.
I saw a guy walking in front of my house. He asked me in Kachin, “Are you Kachin?” I said, “Yes, I’m Kachin.” I told him my whole story from beginning to end. He told me he had helped four people who had been trafficked before me. So I asked him to help me and he helped me too. Therefore, I was able to return to my refugee camp.
People from our refugee camp and the neighbours shamed me a lot, saying I was a trafficked girl.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch