Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Burma

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Burma, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83523.html [accessed 22 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Burma (Tier 3)

Burma is a source country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Burmese men, women, and children (primarily from the country's ethnic minority populations) are trafficked to Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Korea, Macau, and Japan for forced labor – including commercial labor – involuntary domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. To a lesser extent, Burma is a destination for women from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) who are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation occurs from villages to urban centers and other areas, such as truck stops, fishing villages, border towns, and mining and military camps. The junta's policy of using forced labor is a driving factor behind Burma's large trafficking problem.

The Government of Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While Burma has made improved efforts to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation, significant state-sanctioned use (especially by the military) of forced labor continued. The Burmese armed forces continued to force ethnic minorities to serve as porters during military operations in ethnic areas. There also are continuing reports that some children were forced to join the Burmese Army. Although eight local officials were convicted in January 2005 on charges of forced labor, the Burmese Government supported or tolerated the use of forced labor for large infrastructure projects. The government sentenced three individuals to death for communicating with the ILO on the subject of forced labor. Because of the Burmese Government's failure to end forced labor, the ILO postponed implementation of a plan of action to address such practices. During the reporting period, the government took some steps to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation, including drafting anti-trafficking legislation and improving cooperation with UN agencies, neighboring countries, and NGOs.

Prosecution

Over the past year, the Burmese Government made progress in addressing trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, including establishing a police task force to combat trafficking, enhancing cooperation with Burma's neighbors, and beginning to draft anti-trafficking legislation. The Burmese Government made only minimal progress in prosecuting cases involving trafficking for forced labor. Since July 2002, the government claims it prosecuted 474 cases related to trafficking for sexual exploitation and smuggling; an indeterminate number of these cases actually involved severe forms of trafficking in persons. Authorities also convicted eight local officials for using forced labor in a road construction project, sentencing the offenders to six to eight months' imprisonment. The government created a police anti-trafficking unit in 2004 and stationed the unit's teams in border towns to monitor and interdict trafficking. The Burmese Government is developing an anti-trafficking law, but currently uses kidnapping and prostitution statutes to arrest and prosecute traffickers. Corruption continued to be a major problem. Although local and regional officials were suspected of complicity in trafficking, the Burmese Government reported no prosecutions of corrupt government officials related to trafficking. The Burmese military continued to carry out trafficking abuses including forced portering and other forced labor.

Protection

During the reporting period, the Burmese Government provided minimal assistance to victims. Burma's protection included a repatriation center on the Thailand-Burma border, but its overall efforts were hampered by a lack of adequate funding. The government continued to refer victims to NGOs and international organizations that provide protection for victims of trafficking. The Burmese Government also coordinated the repatriation of a limited number of victims from Thailand with international NGOs and provided limited counseling and job training for returning victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. The government did not provide assistance to victims trafficked internally for forced labor, nor did it fund international or domestic NGOs that provide protective services to victims. The Ministry of Home Affairs' Anti-Trafficking Unit received training on various aspects of investigating and handling trafficking cases.

Prevention

The Burmese Government's efforts to prevent trafficking remained inadequate. Governmental measures to prevent trafficking for sexual exploitation include publicizing the dangers in border areas through government-sponsored discussion groups, distribution of printed materials, and media programming. However, these efforts remained under-funded. The government also conducted awareness workshops at the local level on the dangers of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

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