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.
Htoi Moon Ja and her family were displaced in 2011. She was 16 when family friends invited her to vacation in China with them. She agreed, fighting was occurring in her village, her mother had died and she and two siblings were staying with their teacher. However, upon arrival, she learned that the couple she travelled with had sold her and she was forced to marry a Chinese man. When she was able to escape, she ran to the Chinese police, they helped her return home but were unable to catch her traffickers.
I was the breadwinner of my family—I took care of my mother and I had to look after her. So, to live in the IDP camp—the place is too small, and everything is difficult. So, one of my friends told me, “In China there are jobs and good salaries. Every month you can get 4,000 to 5,000 yuan [$640 to $800].
In the village, there more people who are poor, and only Chinese from Myanmar have satellite, the have the dish.
I knew that China is a good place.
When I talked about my experience to others, they got a shock. They felt sorry for me. I felt quite painful about the experiences and events. I had to take medicine to recover.
[Moon Ja escaped and ran to the Chinese police]
They asked me the ID number of the broker – I didn’t know. So they asked me, ‘Where does she live?’ The police said if we do not know the address or ID card number then it’s too difficult – no follow up.
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