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Women fleeing Myanmar trafficked as China brides

A woman is silhouetted on a makeshift tent serving as a sidewalk food stall at night in Hefei, Anhui province October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

From TrustLaw: “BANGKOK – The women from Myanmar, some arriving as young as 14, went to China with dreams of better-paid jobs that would help lift their families out of poverty. 

Instead, upon arrival they are forced to marry. The men, often poor farmers, find Chinese brides hard to come by because cultural preference and a one-child policy enforced since 1978 have led to a higher ratio of men versus women. 

The women recount being drugged by traffickers and brokers – distant relatives, friends of friends, neighbours and fellow villagers – and waking up to find they’d been sold as brides. They tell of being paraded in marketplaces, locked up and forced to get pregnant. 

“The trafficking of women and girls for forced marriage is quite a serious problem and trends over the last couple of years indicate that it is increasing,” said David Brickey Bloomer, child protection director at Save the Children in Myanmar, adding at least a quarter of victims are under 18. 

Forced marriages made up 70 percent of Myanmar’s trafficking cases last year, UNIAP, the United Nations’ inter-agency project on human trafficking, said.

Myanmar authorities recorded 122 cases of forced marriage in 2010, Bloomer told TrustLaw, while UNIAP-supported initiative the Strategic Information Response Network (SIREN) put the 2009 figure at 85.

World Vision, the only other aid

agency besides Save the Children which works on anti-trafficking in Myanmar, said 51 women were trafficked this way in the first seven months of 2011 alone. The average price of a Myanmar bride is $5,000, it said…”

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