Burma’s Anti-Trafficking Unit Says 120 Cases Investigated in 2015

By Tin Htet Paing 14 December 2015

RANGOON — According to figures published in state-run media on Saturday, Burma’s anti-human trafficking unit has investigating 120 cases of human trafficking in 2015, leading to some 226 arrests.

A total of 549 victims among 617 affected persons were rescued as of November this year, according to Burma’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division.

Khin Maung Hla, a police chief in the trafficking unit, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that of the total number of trafficking cases in 2015, 68 involved forced marriages in China.

“China practices a one-child per family policy,” said Khin Maung Hla, referring to a long-standing Chinese policy that in fact was officially scrapped in 2015. “Besides, there is no law for the forced marriage issue in China because of their country’s demand.”

Khin Maung Hla said nearly 80 percent of human trafficking cases involved China, with Chinese culprits seldom charged under that country’s laws. He said Burma’s anti-trafficking unit was targeting local agencies offering overseas employment opportunities.

“We can’t tell people not to go overseas but have to raise awareness of the patterns of human trafficking among the public,” Khin Maung Hla said.

Aye Aye Mar Kyaw, project coordinator with the United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons (Myanmar), told The Irrawaddy that China was one of the most difficult countries to deal with in terms of collaborating to combat human trafficking.

However, in comparison with previous years, collaboration has improved, she added.

According to official figures published in the Global New Light of Myanmar on Saturday,                trafficking victims from January to November this year included 100 children, with police investigating 60 cases involving children last month alone.

Burma’s government launched a five-year National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in 2012 with an annual operating budget of US$780,000—covered mostly by international NGOs. As part of the plan, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division was created within the country’s police force.