Woman Sentenced to 80 Years for Human Trafficking in Myanmar’s Shan State

By Lawi Weng 7 October 2019

A court in the Shan State capital of Taunggyi sentenced a woman accused of human trafficking to 80 years in prison last week, according to police in Muse.

Ma Htay Win was found guilty on four counts of human trafficking, each of which carries a 20-year sentence, according to U Kyaw Nyunt, an officer with an anti-human trafficking police force on the China-Myanmar border. The cases involved three women from Pekon Township and one from Sesai Township, all of whom who were trafficked into China.

Ma Htay Win was charged under Article 28 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law.

U Kyaw Nyunt said that the victims escaped, returned from China and then opened cases against Ma Htay Win.

“When they arrived at the border in Muse, they told us that they were from Pekon so we sent them to Pekon and they opened cases at the Pekon Police Station,” the officer said. “[Ma Htay Win] lured these women and trafficked them to Chinese men. She was the main person involved in this case.”

According to the anti-human trafficking police in Muse, many cases have shown that Myanmar women are trafficked into China and then forced to marry Chinese men.

China’s one-child policy, which ended in 2015, and its strong cultural preference for sons pushed millions of women into sex-selective abortions and caused many families to abandon female children or choose female infanticide. This produced a shortage of women in the country and as a result, many women from Myanmar and other neighboring countries including Cambodia, Laos and North Korea were trafficked into China.

Trafficked Myanmar women have often been sent to remote areas of China where local men struggle to find women.

“Local Chinese women [in remote areas] go to work in other towns so the local men don’t have women and need women to marry,” said U Kyaw Nyunt.

The officer said this demand has produced many human trafficking businesses along the border.

Last year police arrested 23 men and 66 women in 40 human trafficking cases, according to official statistics from Muse police. Officers rescued 53 trafficking victims.

So far this year, police have arrested 21 men and 58 women in 31 trafficking cases and rescued 50 victims.

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