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Trafficking of Burmese Women and Children

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In what way should Burmese and Thai government authorities respond to reduce the number of Burmese women and children trafficked into Thailand.

Working Hypothesis:

Both the governments of Burma and Thailand together with the NGOs and the civil society should lay down comprehensive regional and national policies and programs. The programs are meant to prevent the increasing rate of trafficking, combat it, and protect the victims of this vice. Due to the fact that victims of the trafficking are mainly from the two countries and more so, the traffickers are also from these countries, it is the duty of the governments to protect its citizens as it is stipulated in the constitution of the country. The policies should be aimed at punishing and using the available laws pertaining to trafficking to deter the perpetrators. In instances where there are no efficient laws to curb this problem, the governments will need to form policies to handle this problem.

Introduction

With the prevailing problem that faces women and children from Thailand and Burma, the society is suffering. There is no development, and the role of women is undermined; they are stigmatized and end up living fearful lives because they fear for their security. They will not have time to stabilize and work on their life, and develop their country.

Background of the Issue

Human trafficking is a large phenomenon in the Thai-Burma border. This is as a result of organized crime that intentionally kidnapping and, to a greater extent, luring women and young children to countries in Asia, where they are taken as sex slaves. Those victims needed to repay the amount invested in them to achieve the ‘greater heights’. Initially, the women are promised comfortable jobs that include being maids and doing little domestic chores. However, on reaching their destination, they are taken as prostitutes and needed to pay the cost of bringing them there plus interest. It is shocking news to the women after a long journey of about eight hundred miles to arrive in Malaysia and be delivered to brothels and pubs prepared to start prostitution. They are informed that they owe a good sum of money, roughly two thousand dollars to their ‘owners’. In certain cases, it was devastating to learn that some women are to have up to five customers a day for nine months so as to be able to repay the debt. Young ladies and children are more vulnerable because they are considered fresh and attract a substantial demand due to the belief that they are free from HIV/Aids. For women after being lured into promising jobs that seem as a true until they are forced to work as prostitutes upon their arrival, they are denied access to their families. They cannot leave and because they are in foreign lands where even the language is a problem, they tend to remain depressed. The recent case is where an industry locked down laborers and refused to grant them permission to leave, and forcefully retained them under devastating working conditions with poor pay. The trafficking is well linked with a network of people influential in the business, and the saddening thing is that in some cases, even the authorities are involved. This makes this problem very difficult to handle because there might be individuals who will attempt to block justice.

Significance of the Issue

This problem has been prevalent for some time now. Some individuals have had futile efforts on trying to handle the highly explosive trade. The trade is carried out with high degree of secrecy, with individuals facing a possibility of losing life if it is noticed that they are spying on this issue. According to the BBC news, this cross-border trade works on a well-organized system of bribery. It is simply sensitive. There has been lack of legislation to handle human trafficking, and the governments had failed to join hands with the local society in forming policies and flushing out individuals that are known to engage in such trade.

With women, children and men exposed to risk of being kidnapped and taken hostage, and then finally being forced to work under ruthless conditions, there is no time for constructive development. Security is vital to the development, and where everyone is at the risk of being unwillingly taken away, people are not interested in developing the area.

In order for foreign direct investment to be directed in any region, there ought to be security, which is something that appears not to be in these regions. Therefore, the existence of insecurity like hijackings and human trafficking will scare way foreign investors.  For any economy to succeed and grow well, it is vital that the element of foreigners investing in the country should be present. Due to unstable governments, people tend to shy from these countries and more so the Burma-Thai border. The NGO provides training to the police and has rescued and repatriated more than 1000 children with their families.

It is important that the government and any other available resource is used to suppress this vice; apart from being a religiously bad deed, it is inhuman and leaves a psychological scar that is devastating in the minds of small children on learning that their parents or any relative fell victim. It is also essential that governments act fast to curb the inhuman acts before it is too late because when individuals, who have no useful economic duty to perform, learn of this, they are likely to join this gangs or, even worse case, form their own and run their ‘business’. The high rate of unemployment plays a big role in these activities, given that in these regions access to arms is easy. In this area, these gangs are rich; even when things get worse they use their financial muscle and access to guns to eliminate the distracters of their empires. Authorities, therefore, end up dead or kidnapped; it is a matter of life and death.

It is a bad indication for these countries to have a tainted reputation. The country will be seen as unable to sort its own problems, and that it is a failed state where certain individuals can takeover or run illegal business and get away with it. The education in the areas around the border and many regions where human trafficking is highly suspected to take place will not reach a decent level. The children here will need to go to school elsewhere or, worse still, have no education. These acts are a derailment from the normal way of life in this society, and, in worse cases, such places have a high affinity for development of black markets and, in some cases, markets for arms.

Solution to the Problem

Like was illustrated above, the government in collaboration with NGOs and other bodies should work together to legislate the appropriate laws, bring the necessary reinforcement of any kind to deal with this vice. There are various solutions to the problem that  can be preventive or begin acting after it has already occurred.

Firstly, the culprits that engage in this act are those used by cartel owners to enforce this, and given that primarily they have no economic ways of production that are beneficial to them. They cannot get constructive employment or even employ themselves. For the people to be lured into traps they are given attractive terms of employment. Researchers have indicated that the effect and sprouting of the Thailand sex industry is a result of hopelessness rather than that of force. It is said that women in Thailand have minimal employment opportunities, and when a girl grows up she knows that there are low chances that she will be constructively employed. Some of them are in agreement with the idea of going to Bangkok for employment opportunities not knowing the debt they are to undergo when they get to their destination. Some of them are required to serve so many clients in the brothels, so as to pay the debt and sustain themselves. It indicates that the government has failed in providing a system that puts all youth and women into constructive employment. It should provide them with good sources of incomes, so they will not fall to the traps laid down by unscrupulous individuals that want to earn by trafficking them to area where they make money for them.

Over time, the officials of Thailand have been working on stringent laws to stop the vice. Though, the laws have not had a significant impact there is a possibility that with time when the laws will be tightened up dealers will get scared because of the consequences. On the same note, some government officials are involved and used by dealers to escape traps put on them. With such legislation, the government creates pressure on them and has a significant effect on the officials. In the latest case, a police officer in Thailand was sentenced to jail for ten years for have being a link between the victims and the traffickers. When the victims are deported and left on the border they are subject to harassment by both the Thailand police and agents who want to take them back to Bangkok. The process of deporting Burmese women and girls to the border involves a new round of extortion and sex harassment, as Thai officials exploit the pervasive fear of these women and girls being handed back to the Burmese authorities (Thomas et. al., 1993).

The economy of Thailand has been in the rise over some years now; the problem is that the country is having an imbalanced growth. There are very rich people and a majority of them are poor; the southern part of the country has experienced a large GDP growth while the North is having poor populations that are rural and have no opportunities for growth. These are the individuals that are vulnerable to being lured to oversee countries in search for greener pastures that turn up to be lard labor and prostitution.

As a solution and prevention measure to this problem, non-governmental organizations are creating awareness. This is helping individuals that have aspirations of travelling oversees to search for greener pastures. Those individuals get to know of how their fellow individuals are trafficked and lured into hard labor and prostitution. Creating this awareness is the most effective measure because potential victims can refuse to be lured into false traps, and this will to a great level hamper such unlawful transactions. According to Social Science (2010), Government of Burma is making significant efforts.

With victims suffering from inside and outside Thailand, governments have been in the record signing agreements to protect victims from other countries if they are found in their country. This is because in cases where victims frees him or herself from this situation and cannot find anyone to help out, they are supposed to get to the authorities. However, there is a standing agreement: they will be transported home instead of being deported to the border as it happened to a twenty four years old woman. After being deported to the Thai-Burma border, she had to walk herself home and ended up being raped and traumatized on the way. She was saved by a good hearted individual who took her to a care center. According to the New York Times, at age 9, Srey Pov was able to dart away from the brothel and outrun the guard.

Personal Reflection/ Recommendation

It is inhuman for such activities to continue in the modern world; this is slavery but just in another form. Human trafficking is a vice that should not be left to the government only to be handled; it is the responsibility of everyone to take a part in ensuring that it is eliminated. It is always easy for people to blame the government for the problems that come with it. However, after a thorough analysis, it will be realized that even the victims of these illegal and inhuman activities play a role in perpetuating the vice. It is tragic to imagine that in most cases, human beings have been treated as commodities; they were bought from one country and exported to the other with an intention of making profit. These are those types activities, which time are long gone and should not be entertained by anyone and any state.

Anyone with a truly genuine intent to resolve the problem should start with the root of the whole problem. Trying to attack traffickers, I believe, will only be a temporary solution to the problem. I am meant to believe that victims, in most cases, are lured and they leave their countries willingly to go to the foreign land with a promise of good life. It is the duty of the stakeholders to explain to their citizens the benefits of them remaining in their home countries and work there earning enough to make a decent living. In the case that people are educated and they are able to see the need to remain in their countries, the amount of victims will be significantly reduced. This is the easiest way that can be used. They should be told of the kinds of suffering which they may be subjected to if they decide to visit these countries with an intention of getting these jobs. It will be the first step against the vice.

The second most effective method may involve the governments of these countries to come with legislations which would outlaw these practices. Joint commissions should be formed to investigate the illegal trade, and recommendations should be implemented without fear or favor. In this section, people who were caught carrying out these activities should be dealt with the full force of law. They have to be made to understand the fact that activities in which they were engaged are inhuman and they cannot be tolerated by right thinking people. With proper laws in place, the perpetrators of these activities will be punished; this will act as deterrence to those with intentions of engaging in this activities.

One other very sure way that the government can use to deal with this challenge, is to devise solutions which will be expected to provide more opportunities for people in their own home countries, rather than them going to look for these opportunities in foreign countries. People usually leave their countries because they are unable to find what they want in their countries, and believe it can be found somewhere else. With these opportunities available, it becomes almost imperative that no one will want to leave the country and go out with possibilities to be humiliated. This, without any doubt, will lead to improved economic development of these countries. They will not lose their labor force; instead, they will produce enough for themselves.

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