Daughter of KIA Officer Saved from Forced Marriage

By Echo Hui 20 December 2012

Chinese police successfully rescued a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer’s daughter on Sunday who had been trafficked to China to be the forced bride of a farmer.

Maran Kai Ja was found in Tange, a village in China’s Henan Province, where she was due to marry a man called Chao who apparently purchased her from traffickers for 90,000 yuan (US $14,500), according to the Dongfangjinbao Chinese media organization.

The 16-year-old, reportedly the child of KIA General Staff Capt Maran Hka Raw, is now safe with police from Yunnan Province and ready tobe repatriated in the next couple of days.

“We got a diplomatic letter from the Kachin Independence Organization [KIA’s political wing] on Nov. 28. We translated and forwarded it to the police to take care of it,” Li Yonghai, foreign affairs officer for Yingjiang County of Yunnan Province,told The Irrawaddy.

Li revealed this was not the first time that such letters had been received from the Kachin rebel group asking for help to find trafficked women. “It is nothing unordinary,” he said, adding that previous cases usually involved girls being sold to Sichuan, Fujian and Anhui provinces.

The key to finding Kai Ja was a text message she sent, according to the Chinese media. After being sold to a man called Jinnuo, she took advantage of his drunken state to sneak into a washroom and contact her family with his mobile phone.

The police then managed to track her location using this information.

An initial investigation indicates that Kai Ja was duped by a Burmese man. She was then trafficked to several areas before being sold to Chao in Hangzhou City.

The lack of aid reaching thousands of internally displaced persons living in camps along Burma’s frontier with China has been deemed a contributing factor to the trafficking problem. Fighting in Kachin State over the past year-and-a-half has seen around 100,000 people flee their homes towards the border, according to humanitarian groups.

“There’s an urgent need [for the Burmese government] to provide support for community-based initiatives to raise awareness about trafficking, and to provide services to women and girls who have been trafficked from Burma,” said Naung Latt, women trafficking project coordinator of the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand.