Cooperation with neighboring nations, key to fighting human trafficking

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A court in Kyaunggon, Ayeyawady Region, sentenced two women to 20 years in prison last week for trafficking two local women to China. In another case, a woman charged with human trafficking in Taunggyi, Shan State, was given a prison sentence of 80 years by a local court in October.
Similar cases are being witnessed nationwide, highlighting how many women in search of jobs have fallen prey to traffickers.
Lack of job opportunities and development in the country, as well as natural disasters and inequality, have led to a high incidence of human trafficking in Myanmar.
The forms of human trafficking have changed, but cases have not declined significantly year by year. It has also been found that the number of cases can be reduced by creating employment opportunities and by giving reasonable wages through discussions with employers and the relevant associations.
The five major forms of human trafficking seen in Myanmar include forced marriages, forced prostitution, forced labour, trafficking in children, and debt bondage. Of the total trafficking cases in Myanmar in 2018, 75.24 per cent involved forced marriages, 13.59 per cent involved forced prostitution, 8.74 per cent forced labour, 1.94 per cent surrogacy, and 0.49 per cent illegal adoption. In terms of countries by destination, 79.61 per cent of trafficking victims were sent to China, 1.46 per cent to Thailand, and 18.93 per cent were trafficked within Myanmar.
The main reasons for human trafficking in Myanmar included socio-economic conditions, natural disasters, and internal armed conflicts, while legal or illegal migrants to foreign countries were also trafficked. Myanmar has been taking several measures against trafficking in persons, as a national duty. It has drawn up a five-year plan which includes four sectors, in cooperation with the relevant ministries, UN bodies, international organizations, INGOs, and social communities. Prevention and protection activities including legal proceedings have also been carried out.
Educational talks on human trafficking in schools are an important and right step towards eradicating this scourge from Myanmar. Thanks to preventive measures in the form of a public awareness campaigns, human trafficking has become more recognized.
To meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, we need to make significant efforts in cooperation with neighboring, regional, and international countries in fighting the transnational crime of human trafficking.

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