October 20, 2017

Migrant Workers and Human Trafficking

  • Khin Maung Oo
  • It is an undeniable fact that our national economy cannot grow without internal peace. Without continuous economic development, problems such as unemployment, migrant workers and human trafficking are bound to emerge. As everyone knows, the current government which has the support of the people is working very hard to solve a tremendous backlog of legacy problems accumulated during successive governments for half a century or so. At a time like this, all of us —government leaders, Hluttaw members, Tatmadaw leaders, ethnic armed groups, political parties, service personnel, businessmen and all the people should shoulder the burden of nation building, each in his or her own way for the sake of our present generation as well as for future generations.
    Once we have internal peace, a huge influx of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) will enter the country, thus giving a tremendous boost to the national economy. As a result, job opportunities can be created. Once the private sector grows at a steady pace supported by foreign direct investments more and more suitable jobs will be created. In this way the problem of unemployment will be solved to a considerable extent because those who want jobs will be able to get meaningful jobs with fair wages and good working conditions. At the present moment, most Myanmar youths go abroad for work, due to scarcity of jobs in their respective regions and states. Most of these youths go to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and some even to Middle Eastern countries. These Myanmar youths often end up working in dead-end jobs under harsh conditions and without any adequate protection from the labor laws of the host countries. As some leave the country illegally, most often than not they fall prey to dubious employment companies which charge exorbitant sums of money and also find themselves at the mercy of corrupt and ruthless immigration officers. Those who go abroad include mostly poor and uneducated rural youths with little or no knowledge of the outside world. As they do not have basic education, they do not have even enough general knowledge to protect themselves from the harsh realities of foreign lands. Now, we are hearing news about human trafficking almost every day. Regarding this, we need to ponder deeply about these problems and formulate comprehensive and pragmatic strategies with the cooperation and participation of all relevant government ministries at the Union and State/Region level. In most cases, human trafficking is done by organized crime which transcends national boundaries. We should use all the means at our disposal to stem the tide of human trafficking as the victims are both males and females. In this regard training our government service personnel, especially from the Myanmar Police Force and the Immigration Department will play a vital role to build up the capacity of our officials. Failing that, our youths, especially more Myanmar female teen-agers will become victims of human trafficking.
    There were 3489 victims of human trafficking, the Myanmar Police Force dealt with during the past decade. Civil society organizations say that human trafficking is generally attributed to being in debt, poor education, shortage of job opportunities and domestic abuse, adding that the victims include those who are easily deceived, and those who are naïve, those desirous of risks, unprotected children, or persons who are excessively impressed by alien culture and values and people who are dissatisfied with their present existence. To our great sorrow, we have heard that some young women and girls have been forced to become wives of foreigners after having fallen prey to human trafficking. To sum it up, not only promulgation of effective laws but also launching of public campaigns for knowledge sharing at the grass-roots level nationwide is urgently need for eliminating human trafficking.
    We need to find the root cause of human trafficking instead of trying to deal with the symptoms. To sum it up, RPD may be the answer to some of our current problems. RPD means Reconciliation, Peace and Development. The sooner we are able to achieve reconciliation with our national ethnic brothers and sisters, the sooner we will get internal peace. Once we get internal peace, development will not be too far away.

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