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Pan Pan Tsawm

2019 (Narrative date)

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. 

Pan Pan Tsawm was one of seven children in a family living in an internal displacement camp. She was 15 when her friend drugged and sold her. She was held for three years and left behind a daughter when she escaped.

I am the eldest sibling, so I wanted to earn money for them, so I decided to go to China. My mother accepted the idea and she trusted my friend and thought I could believe her and thought that if I could support my siblings this would be a good way.

I thought they were my boss, because my friends promised to find me a job. I thought I was going to work in their business. I cannot speak Chinese. We communicated using sign language.

When I had sex with him, his parents would lock the door from the outside 

I feel shame, because of what happened to me.

[Pan Pan Tsawm told her family had had happened to her]

They say nothing. They gave no comment.


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