- By Thabyay
It is heart-breaking to hear a series of true tragic stories of modern-day slavery presented by a group of young people.
The young man and women who escaped from human trafficking in person shared their own experiences with deepened sadness and heart-felt grievances. The Forum for the victims of Human Trafficking in Person under the title “Let us all listen together, with open hearts forever” was organized at Horizon hotel in Nay Pyi Taw in the morning of 9th June. In this event both male and female youths (victims) were actively cooperating in the combat against human trafficking by taking part in enactment demonstrating and narrating their own experiences in the hands of human traffickers.
The scripts and plots of the true story play of modern-day slavery came out from the discussion and suggestions made by 34 attendants to the forum held from 5 to 9 June.
“Human Trafficking has been growing rapidly and now becomes a serious and common issue for most of the countries. Actually human trafficking is a capital offence to human rights and it is rampant and affects most in underdeveloped and developing countries.” said the Police Brigadier General Myint Htoo of Myanmar Police Force at the opening ceremony of the forum.
The forum for capacity building for the victims of human trafficking in person was held by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in cooperation with an NGO World Vision – Myanmar.
The meeting was attended and discussed by the responsible personnel from Myanmar Police Force, Social Welfare and related departments, World Vision, other friendly organizations, survivors from human trafficking and special invited guests.
“ As human trafficking usually takes place as transnational crime, cooperation among the countries is crucial to the suppression and eradication of human trafficking. Therefore, Myanmar has actively taken part in the combat on human trafficking in accordance with the regional and international agreement” added Police Brigadier General Myint Htoo.
Myanmar has been the signatory of the agreement contract on prevention of human trafficking by land, by water and by air, of United Nation Convention on fight against transnational crime and later agreement on prevention of human trafficking.
The law of Prevention of Human Trafficking in Person was ratified on 13 September 2005 and Central Committee and three working Committees were formed in accordance with the law. The fight against human trafficking was implemented at the national level with 2 terms of 5 year project from 2007 to 2016 and it is now undertaking with greater momentum. Now the third 5 year term from 2017 to 2021 is being implemented.
“ By holding such a forum the survivors from the scourge of human trafficking can share their bitter experiences andtheir suggestions are greatly supportive in combating human trafficking and play an important role in eradicating the human trafficking in person. The requirements discovered through this meeting will be taken into consideration in the implementation of the coming 5 year plan” continued Police Brigadier General Myint Htoo.
The suggestions came out from the discussion in the forum for the prevention of human trafficking include: to give knowledge and awareness to potential migrant workers: to let them know not to easily trust every person including friends and relatives; to know comprehensively about the job that they are going to do; to leave the address of the work place and type of job at home; to leave the available information and contact phone number related to the agencies at home; to learn about language of destination country and local condition; to assess whether your working skill meet the requirement of the job you are going to do and if not, to get some pre-departure training. The said 6 points are important for the displaced workers to not be the victims of human trafficking.
Out of the suggestions for Protection Sector, 8 points were highlighted. Trafficked persons were beaten by officials from some police stations and some common houses (houses of refuge)of the bordering countries; giving no sufficient food; providing no medical treatment and discrimination. Moreover, it was suggested to coordinate at the meeting not to discriminate in providing regular health care, to support the rehabilitation, health care, food and accommodation for trafficked persons by linking with the helping organizations. Since the suggested facts are really important they should be included in the planning and implemented in cooperation with the departments concerned.
In Policy and Cooperation Sector, 5 points were suggested including the facts: to do careful checking and inspection at all check points and inspection gates by combined force comprising immigration department and police force for protection of human trafficking to discover the cases of trafficking and trespassing that are usually done through official border gates and also through illegal hidden gates; moreover, for inspection officials at the border gates and check points to do surprise checking in addition to regular checking on the cars as it has been a common practice to traffic human hiding under the goods; to come up with the means and ways to expose the cases of border gate officials in collusion with trafficking agents.
Those suggestions are also crucial to prevention and protection of human trafficking, so should be put into the project planning and implemented effectively.
In prosecution sector, it is suggested: the judge to enthusiastically listen to the words said by those who suffered grievances; to protect the victims from threatening during the trial at court; the court to inform the victims of the sentence convicted on the criminal; to inform the victims of the latest information regarding the rights of the victims and compensation due to the victims; to trace and expose the main culprits behind the curtain through the trafficking agents. The suggestions numbering to 13 in total are also important and should include in further planning for protection of human trafficking.
At the capacity-building meeting for the trafficked persons, director of social welfare department, Daw Naw Thar War clarified that over 3700 trafficked persons were retrieved between 1992 and April 2017 mostly from Thailand, Indonesia and China; and vocational training were given to trafficked persons; trafficked persons were supported to be able to work in specific vocation and could support health and education of trafficked persons depending on their requirements; 772 trafficked persons were supported for their livelihood between 2010 and April 2017 under the budgets of social welfare department, Anti-Human Trafficking Division of Myanmar Police Force, UNICEF and IOM.
With vision to protect human trafficking World Vision under the guidance of Central Body for Suppression of Trafficking in Person is carrying out the tasks hand in hand with the communities and the departments concerned defining the Yangon, Mandalay, Taninthayi Regions, Shan and Mon States as project area.
World Vision is an NGO from America and it is taking part in 5 year plan of suppression of human trafficking in Myanmar starting from 2017 under the Fund raised by American Government and Australian Government. It is implementing the project with strategy based on “ Four P & One C”. Four P represent Prevention, Protection, Policy and Prosecution and One C is capacity building.
World Vision had pointed out the facts that the number of displaced workers are increasing year by year in seeking the better job opportunities; referring to the figures issued by UN Organization for Displaced Workers in 2014 World Vision pointed out that 2.3 million displaced workers are present in Thailand. But only half of them are working with legal permit. Referring to other sources, it was said that 700,000 Myanmar displaced workers are working in Malaysia while 100,000 to 200,000 displaced workers are working in Singapore.
Besides, World Vision has placed 33 teams for monitoring the villages and tracts comprising 1041 members and it has 49 children teams comprising 1350 members helping in combatting human trafficking in person in the wards and villages. World Vision could help the 444 repatriated displaced persons to get reunion with their families.
It could assist 1576 repatriated displaced persons to be able to attend the capacity building courses. The educative campaigns were done by holding poems, arts, essays, articles and posters competitions and awarding the prizes in memorial of Human Trafficking Day. 6652 students participated in the competitions.
In the discussions made by the officials from departments concerned, the spoke-person of Ministry of Information, U Ye Naing said “ In accordance with the objectives of the Ministry of Information “ To Inform, To Educate and To Entertain” the works in combating the human trafficking are being carried out by broadcasting the campaign through the state-owned medias such as MRTV, newspapers and online media.”
From radio and television of MoI people are educated regarding the human trafficking by broadcasting songs, short plays, mottos and other programs, by holding educative talks and displaying wall magazine at the office of Information and Public Relations Department, by editorials, news, photos and articles in the newspapers, by online media and by using different national races languages.
The capacity-building meeting and discussion was finished at noon of 9 June. The survivors from the hands of human traffickers attended the meeting and shared their experiences and basing on those experiences in combination with knowledge gained from the meeting the preventive measures can be planned in combating the human trafficking in person.
“The victims of human trafficking have sustained more or less spiritual trauma. Some can pick themselves up again from the scourge, but some have to take time to cure their mental trauma and impose burden on their families” said one of the attendants.
Therefore, “Let us all listen together, with open hearts forever and let us combat human trafficking in person hand in hand with the people to ensure every human free from the scourge of human trafficking”.
Translated by Khin Maung Win