The Myanmar Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and Yangon Region Social Welfare Department have filed lawsuits against the owners of Ava Tailoring, accusing them of abusing their two maids.
Following a formal complaint on 22 June against the accused, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission asked Kyauktada Township Police to investigate the case, alleging that maids San Kay Khine, 17, and Thazin, 16, were ‘tortured’ by their employers, said U Zaw Win, a member of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, at a press conference in Yangon yesterday. The commission found that the two girls have been working at the house for two years and were reportedly kept away from their relatives without being paid salaries in later month. The man who made the complaint suggested that the parents of the victims file a lawsuit against the owners of the tailor shop on 15 August. The two maids were returned to their parents in early September after a police investigation. But during negotiations mediated by MNHRC, the victims agreed to a Ks5 million settlement instead of pursuing the case in court.
The settlement of the case through compensation has sparked public debate and the MNHRC has been criticised for not taking serious action.
“The agreement that came out from negotiations between the two sides was done in accordance with the right vested in the commission. The duties and rights of the human rights commission are to investigate cases accordingly, to report some cases to the ministries concerned, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, to probe into some cases, and to give suggestions to authorities. The commission has no right to make decision over the cases,’ said U Zaw Win.—Zaw Gyi