Government Releases Trafficking Statistics for 2016

By San Yamin Aung 11 January 2017

RANGOON — More than 300 people—of whom 41 were minors—were trafficked last year to countries including China, Thailand and Malaysia for forced marriage, labor and prostitution, according to government statistics.

The Central Body for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons under Burma’s Ministry of Home Affairs said a total of 131 instances of trafficking led to 307 victims, of whom 213 were women and 94 were men. Forty-one were children under 16, according to the office.

China topped the list with 88 cases. Twenty-eight people were trafficked within Burma, while nine were trafficked to Thailand and six were trafficked to Malaysia.

There were 85 cases of forced marriage, 32 cases of forced labor, 12 cases of prostitution, one debt case and one case of adoption.

Lt­-Col Myo Thein told The Irrawaddy that in Rangoon, 27 human trafficking cases happened last year, 10 more than in 2015.

“Thirteen were trafficked to China for forced marriages,” he said.

He added that 42 traffickers, including 28 women and 14 men, had been arrested and 47 were still at-large. The anti-human trafficking unit rescued 40 survivors from Rangoon this year, while nine are still missing in the division.

The US State Department 2016 Trafficking In Persons report shows that the numbers of victims may be largely underreported by the government. The report stated that more than 1,000 men and boys were repatriated after being taken for forced labor on Thai fishing boats. It added that thousands of people displaced by conflict within the country were especially vulnerable to trafficking. Burma was classified as a Tier 3 country by the report—the lowest possible ranking.

“The government of Burma does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” the report stated.