- Tricked by fake agents in their home country who are paid upfront by workers
- Promised a larger salary by fake agents
- Forced through intimidation to work unreasonable hours
- Once labor used up, fake agents are out'a there
Ko Hla* paid an agent US$800 and then started work on a Taiwanese fishing ship, thinking it was good money at $260 a month. He toiled 18 hours a day.
“We weren’t allowed to complain, we weren’t allowed to contact our [families]. Often we were beaten and intimidated,” the 30-year-old said. “It wasn’t what we expected.”
He quit 16 months later and returned home to find that the agent, who was supposed to send his salary to his family, had run away without making a single payment.
Due to limited job opportunities and low incomes, tens of thousands of Burmese seek work abroad, hoping to earn a better living, but many like Ko Hla and his friends fall prey to human traffickers.
And of course slavery follows gendered patterns:
According to the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), Burmese women, children, and men are trafficked to Thailand, China, Malaysia, South Korea, and Macau for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labour.
Myanmar is also a transit country for trafficked Bangladeshis to Malaysia and Chinese to Thailand.
The Burmese government says China is the main destination, followed by Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
Women and girls are trafficked to China for forced marriage and sex work, while adults and children are sent to Thailand and Malaysia for forced labour and sexual exploitation.
“The victims of trafficking blindly believe whatever they’re told by the brokers without trying to get correct information regarding the job,” Nan Tin Tin Shwe, anti-trafficking coordinator of the international NGO World Vision, told IRIN.
This is the typical system that emanates from unregulated capitalism and greedy capitalists. Examples abound...