There are an estimated 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China (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.
Chewa was looking for work and told she would find it more easily further from the border. She followed two agents across the border to China where she was forced to marry a Chinese man.
They told me if I needed money it’s better to work further from the border, saying I can earn a lot in a few days. I didn’t know anyone there. It was in China and I didn’t speak Chinese. So I said, “You two are the only ones I know. I will go wherever you two go”.
Narrative provided by Human Rights watch