The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them.
Tsin Tsin had to leave her village in 2011, staying with relatives and then living in a tent for two years. Desperate to get her two children back in school, she accepted a job from another displaced woman in a banana farm in China. However, upon arrival, she found the woman had sold her and she was forced to marry a Chinese man.
The village was in the middle of the fighting. There was shelling from both sides…we just ran with nothing. They burned all the houses.
We know what time there is no border guard, so we chose that time – very early, 6am. There are no guards on either side then. In the day there are KIO soldiers on the Myanmar side. Sometimes they check the red book [temporary pass], sometimes they don’t. you need to get permission from the KIO [to cross the border] but if you go at 6am, you don’t need permission.
I have so many things in my heart, but it is hard to share them. There are so many difficulties in my life. I could not afford for my children to have a good quality education. We’re really upset about our life. We’re not able to provide good things for our children—things to eat, to drink—so all the time we feel upset. It’s been so long since we had to flee our village and we cannot keep anything for our children.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “Give Us a Baby and We’ll Let You Go”: Trafficking of Kachin “Brides” from Myanmar to China