About 80 percent of human trafficking cases in Myanmar over the past five years involved women being smuggled into China for forced marriage, a Myanmar Police Force official said last week.
Of the remaining 20pc of cases, 10pc involved Thailand and 6pc Malaysia, the spokesperson from the Department of Transnational Crime said.
“Myanmar woman are in great demand because China practises its one-child policy. About 80pc of human trafficking in Myanmar are due to forced illegal marriage issue in China,” he said.
“Solving this problem will not only require the effort of the police force. It is partly related to poverty and also we need to improve education, particularly in the border areas.”
Between January 2006 and August 2011, 731 trafficking cases were reported, 585 of which involved China.
Of those cases, 1305 people were rescued, including 780 from China – or about 60pc of the total – along with 483 from Thailand, 16 from Indonesia and 15 from Malaysia.
Meanwhile, 85pc of victims were women and 65pc of traffickers were also women, the figures show.
The spokesperson said it remained difficult to rescue women who had been trafficked into China because they were spread across the country and they needed more cooperation from the Chinese authorities.
The Ministry of Home Affairs released the data in December at the launch of its latest five-year national plan of action to combat human trafficking, which covers the period between 2012 and 2016.
Women trafficked into other neighbouring countries are often forced to become sex workers, the official said. Men are likely to end up as labourers, he said, while children are trafficked to make money as beggars.
Most women are lured to China by the promise of a well-paying job.
Ma Moe Moe, 23, was sold to a Chinese man in Guangdong Province but escaped after three days in October 2012.
She was passed between four brokers before reaching Guangdong, she said, adding that she met many Myanmar forced brides while in China.
“I ran and escaped from the Chinese man who bought me from a broker to be his wife when he went to the toilet one day. They consider you to be a wife if you give birth to a son but will kill a female child and they’ll make you a forced labourer in the fields,” said the Shwe Pyi Thar township resident. “You will become a slave until you give birth to a son. I saw many Myanmar girls who are aged 20 to 25.
“I even found some who had been tortured. I was given a medical examination by a broker in China mostly to make sure I can give birth. All brokers are women.”
She said her personal experience was almost exactly the same as that portrayed on a half-hour film the government has been transmitting on TV since 1997 to improve awareness of human trafficking.
She said that while most people knew the risks they agree to go to China because they have no other way to earn money. She had been tricked by the offer of a K200,000-a-month job.
A retired general of the Department of Transnational Crime said that while a large number of women have been rescued from trafficking, support programs after they return are weak.
He said it takes the Department of Social Welfare from one to three years to visit women rescued from human trafficking.
“I was not satisfied with the resettlement system because we cannot help them visibly,” he said.
He said many suffer from psychological problems after being rescued.
“We have to try to improve their lives so they don’t try and go to China but especially look after them better after they are rescued,” he said.