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Ja Seng Htoi

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.


Ja Seng Htoi was trafficked at the age of 20 by a relative. She was forced to marry a Chinese man and was help captive for over 4 years.

Different men came to the home every day and met with me. The Chinese man [a trafficker] asked me if I liked any of the men. I said, “No, I dislike them. I want to go back home.” Then the [traffickers] said, “We already spent the transportation fee for you. But if you can pay back the money, then you can go back.


 The Chinese man told me I would need to have a baby. I said I don’t want to have a baby. He pushed back and asked me to have a baby. [He said] ‘Normally after Myanmar girls in China have a baby they go home – maybe you’re like this’. So I decided to have a baby with him. The Chinese man told me that after the kid was one-year-old then I could go back.


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