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.
Ja Tsin Mai was 20 years old when she took a job as a nanny for a relative. Once in China, the relative urged Ja Tsin Mai to marry. When she refused the relative chose a buyer, took the money and handed over Ja Tsin Mai. She was held for a year and subjected to escalating physical and sexual violence. Ja Tsin Mai eventually managed to get 100 yuan from friends ($16) and when a relative of her captors came to visit and her mother-in-law was distracted, she hailed a car on a nearby road.
At night I had to have sex with the Chinese man. I couldn’t stand it. I kept crying…but then they beat me severely…I was not allowed to go outside.
I don’t know why they beat me. One day they beat me a lot. Even the neighbor came to the house and tried to stop them. When the neighbor stopped the mother, then the son beat me again. When the neighbor stopped the son, then the mother beat me…Every time I was beaten, I did not know what to do. I was bleeding from my nose and my mouth…No matter what, they beat me.
There are people who were trafficked, but they have never told this to another person. They hide it as a secret. We do not talk about it openly.
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