Three Arrested in Yangon for Sending Myanmar Workers Abroad Illegally
By Htet Khaung Lin 12 December 2019
YANGON—Yangon police arrested a Chinese national and two Myanmar citizens in Yangon on Dec. 7 for sending workers to China illegally.
Chinese citizen Chen Siyi, Ko Thant Zin Htet of Naypyitaw and Ma Bawk Seng of Sadong, in Kachin State near the Chinese border, were arrested for sending Burmese women to China without work permits or labor licenses, according to the police. The three were living in a house in FMI City, a housing development in Yangon’s Hlaing Thar Yar Township.
Police said that a Chinese man, Hu Yun Fei, was also involved in the matter but is still at large.
“Mr. Hu Yun Fei often goes in and out of the country. We have his passport but do not know where he is. We’ve informed all the airports and checkpoints to find him,” said a member of the anti-human trafficking police force who was involved in the arrest.
The police said that nine Burmese women were also rescued from the house in FMI City. The women were going to be sent to China and Singapore and were told that they would have to work there as babysitters or assistants to the elderly, earning about 1.2 million kyats (US$800) per month.
The women told the police that Chen Siyi let them stay at her home free of charge before they were to go abroad, but that they would have to give her their salaries for the first four months working abroad as an agent’s fee.
A 25-year-old woman from Bago Region who was beaten by Chen Siyi and Thant Zin Htet escaped from the house and reported the operation to the anti-human trafficking police force. The police later came into the house and arrested the three.
Police say they found the women’s Myanmar passports in the house as well as the mobile phones that the three had been using to contact a Chinese agent.
“Our country has no bilateral agreements to send laborers [abroad]. In recent years, there were many cases in which agents have persuaded Burmese girls to work in China and sent them to China. No one knows what will happen to them when they arrive in China,” said a representative of the police who requested to remain anonymous.
The police representative said that because the suspects were going to send the girls to work in China and Singapore as babysitters or taking care of the elderly, the police can’t register the case under the anti-human trafficking law. He said that the police are instead planning to open a case under the labor law for the three detainees for operating as job finding agents without permission or licenses, and for sending workers abroad illegally.
The punishment for sending workers to foreign countries without a license is a maximum of seven years in prison or a fine, or both.
According to data from the anti-human trafficking police force released in October, about 208 human trafficking cases were reported between January and October. The cases involved 279 victims and 556 traffickers were charged. The most affected regions are Shan State and Yangon Region.
Translated from Burmese by Zarni Mann
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