MANDALAY — A government-led women’s affairs group is looking for donors to help cover the costs of medical treatment for a housemaid whose face and body were badly scarred in a 2010 acid attack but only recently escaped her abusive employers.
Ma Nan May Zin Oo, 20, was blinded in one eye from the 2010 attack and confined by her employer, Ni Ni Nu Nwe, at her house in Mandalay’s Chan Mya Thazi Township for eight years.
“She needs support because she suffered physical and mental trauma for a long time. We want to give her treatment, at least for her face. We also want to treat the scars left by the attack on half of her body,” said Daw Thandar Phone Win, Mandalay Region secretary for the Women’s Affairs Committee.
Nan May Zin Oo left her village in Shan State’s Ywa Ngan Township for Mandalay in 2008 to work at a grocery shop owned by Daw Moe Moe, the mother-in-law of Ni Ni Nu Nwe, in the Mya Yi Nanda Ward of Chan Mya Thazi, earning 10,000 kyats ($7.48) a month.
According to Mandalay’s anti-human trafficking police, Ni Ni Nu Nwe threw acid on Nan May Zin Oo while she was bathing on New Year’s Day in the Myanmar calendar, which falls in April.
“When we first met her, she was so overwhelmed that she could not speak a word. So we had to give her a warm atmosphere,” said anti-human trafficking police Major Myo Zin.
The left side of her face, along with much of the left side of her body, was badly scarred by the acid.
“At the time, her father had filed a missing persons report at the Ywa Ngan police station. A restaurant owner from Tada U [in Mandalay] went to Ywa Ngan to recruit workers for his restaurant, and the Ywa Ngan police station showed him a photo of the girl. He said he knew the girl and brought her father to Mandalay,” Maj. Myo Zin said.
“At the time, the girl’s injuries had not yet healed, so she lied to her father and said she was injured in an accident,” he added.
Daw Moe Moe gave the girl’s father 300,000 kyats and asked him not to open a case with the police.
“Afterwards her father didn’t contact her. She was confined and not given medical treatment,” Maj. Myo Zin said.
Ni Ni Nu Nwe reportedly continued to hit and swear at the girl over the following years. Nan May Zin Oo finally ran away in February and made contact with the Women’s Affairs committee.
“She has had those injures for a long time, so we will seek donors to provide medical treatment to her,” said Daw Thandar Phone Win.
Daw Moe Moe and Ni Ni Nu Nwe were arrested by police on March 1 and have had human trafficking charges filed against them.
According to the police, the trafficking of women and children carries a prison sentence of anywhere from 10 years to life.
“This is the first case of confinement and serious physical attack inside the country,” Maj. Myo Zin claimed.
In a prior high-profile case, however, four family members who own the Ava Tailor Shop were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison in December for torturing two young domestic workers over several years.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.