Burmese Officials Visit Abused Karen Girl

Thai reporters photograph a 12-year-old Karen girl who suffered extreme abuse at the hands of a Thai couple for five years. (Photo: Pattaya Daily News)

Burmese labor officials visited a children’s shelter in Thailand’s Kamphaeng Phet Province on Friday to meet an ethnic Karen girl who has been staying there since she escaped from a Thai couple two weeks ago.

The 12-year-old girl, whose case has attracted intense attention since it was revealed by Thai media earlier this week, told Thai authorities that the couple abducted her five years ago and forced her to work as their servant.

Despite being covered with scars caused by repeated scalding—the result, she said, of hot water being poured over her body as punishment for disobedience—the girl is in good health, according to Naing Htun, a labor official who previously worked at the Burmese embassy in Bangkok.

“I met with Mr Thanawat Sathit, the director of the Home for Children and Families, and saw that they have given her case much attention, such as raising funds for her medical expenses and reporting on her condition every day,” Naing Htun told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

He added that the girl has been reunited with her family and also appears to be recovering from the psychological trauma of being tortured and held against her will for almost half her life.

“We told them that we will provide all necessary support,” said Naing Htun, who added that he had been directed to intervene in the case by the President’s Office.

According to Maung Maung Kyaw, an official at Burma’s Labor Ministry in Naypyidaw, Naing Htun handed over 20,000 baht (US $670) for the care of the girl. He added that the Burmese government would also assist in efforts to prosecute the couple.

The couple, Nathee Taeng-orn, 35, and Rattanakorn Piyavoratharm, 33, face at least 20 years in prison for trafficking, child torture, child labor and illegal detention. They have both been released on bail.

The girl, whose identity has not been revealed, is expected to appear in court next Monday, after which she will begin treatment for her injuries. She will require extensive plastic surgery to separate her left arm from the left side of her chest, which grew attached after her skin melted away, and long-term care to repair severely damaged nerve tissue.

So far, a total of around 100,000 baht ($3,350) has been raised to help the girl, much of it coming from Burmese migrant workers in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. The Thai government has been covering most of her medical costs.

Naing Htun said that the Burmese government would help her family, who are from Hlaing Bwe Township in Karen State, obtain a certificate of identity for the girl.

According to Burmese government figures, around 1.25 million migrant workers from Burma have been issued temporary passports to work in Thailand. However, it is believed that there are at least another million who live in the country without documentation.

15 Responses to Burmese Officials Visit Abused Karen Girl

  1. the tatmadaw did similar (and worse) things to innocent karen villagers for decades. where were burmese officials when it was happening in their own country/backyard?

  2. So far, a total of around 100,000 baht ($3,350) has been raised to help the girl, much of it coming from Burmese migrant workers in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

    details on how to contribute to the aid fund would be acceptable .


    No human can do such brutal punishment to the 12 year old girl regardless any nationalities. She is just a human being.

    To my surprise that Thai authority has released the couple on bills. By now they should in jail deny the bills.

    The victim is belong to Burmese ethnic Karen girl; therefore, I appeal to Burmese Government and its representative to hold full responsibility for the legal case and bring the perpetrators to justice according to rules of law of Thailand.

    The Burmese Congressmen and senators should now- to pass Bills / Resolutions on
    Protective measure and emergency assistance for all Burmese citizens whom may be treated unfairly and disadvantage to access free legal aide while they are working / living abroad.

  4. Nathee Taeng-orn, 35, and Rattanakorn Piyavoratharm, 33 must be brought to justice and their punishment must meet the crime. Why were they been given bail; considering the gravity of their crime? It is totally unacceptable; totally inhumane that a 12 old girl was put through this ordeal. The $670.00 is a joke; it will cost her more than that to repair her physical damage, let alone the mental scars which will live on until her last breath. Her needs must be compensated by the Thai government for the crimes of their citizens in the hundreds of dollars: it is heinous; even animals do not do that to their young ones. Which planet have they come from?

  5. Why was she left naked for all to ogle; those were not reporters they are a bunch of pedophiles. The only people who should be examine her should be the doctors and nurses not the general public

  6. abuse of illegal migrant workers is daily business in thailand. the police is utterly corrupt and justice is a farce. ask the burmese sex workers how “great” a help the police is when they come for their weekly free “ride”…

  7. How did she survive? I have never seen this much scars on one person’s body. My heart is broken. She is the beloved daughter of her parents too. Why did God allow this much pain to this innocent little girl? I am so mad at the Thai government which released the criminals on bail. They do not deserve bail at all. If the victim is a Thai girl, the Thai government may not release them at all since they are dangerous people for the society. I am so mad and pissed off.

  8. Savages. And they were released on bail? They should have been detained and never released on bail.

  9. It looks like the pair is being being sheltered by an army official of high rank. That is the current whisper on the street. One police spokesman said as much, while another policeman said they had been tracked to Cambodia and he had sent officers ‘to keep an eye on them’. The girl is not being taken care of properly. Yesterday a Thai film crew was allowed to question her at the supposed victim’s shelter BY THE DIRECTOR. Thai officials apparently have never heard of post traumatic stress. My guess is that we will soon learn that one of the torturers is related to a high ranking official. Why else would such an easy pair to track down and arrest evade police this long? Money will be offered. In fact, a quiet deal may be under way right now. This is the culture of Thailand. Village justice might be the only way to get the torturers. I hope it finds them.

  10. This people deserve an eye for an eye yet they will get away with this horrific sick sadistic 5 year long torture against a defenseless 7 yrs old girl! How can anyone do this, don’t they have children of their own to know how priceless a child is? And this was a police officer!


  11. Until the barbaric criminals are given long prison term after their long escape, justice in this country is at stake. Lack of rule of law brings down a country. Follow belated Lee Kuan Yew’s example to be a country with dignity under Buddhist principles and real prosperity and happiness will continue. Sadu, sadu.

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