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February 3, 2010

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Huge increase in trafficked women

THERE was a huge increase in the number of Myanmar women sold to bachelors in China's underdeveloped areas last year.

Women dreaming of a better future were easy prey for traffickers who deceived them with tales of good jobs in eastern China, police said.

A Myanmar official said the number of Myanmar women trafficked to China in 2009 was four times higher than in 2008, China Economic Weekly reported.

Trafficking is a profitable business run by syndicates on both sides of the border, the Beijing-based magazine said.

"A trafficked Myanmar woman with a pretty face was worth 50,000 yuan (US$7,323) last year, almost double the price a year ago," Fu Fayun, a police officer in Yunnan Province's Ruili City, told the magazine.

Ruili shares a 170-kilometer border with Myanmar. Fences along the border were full of gaps, allowing people to freely cross over.

Myanmar traffickers would inform their Chinese counterparts of women's personal data by phone or e-mail and deals would be completed on the Chinese side of the border. Chinese traffickers would then transport those women "safely and secretly" to buyers, local police said.

A total of 268 Myanmar women were rescued and returned home via Ruili in 2009. The figure in 2008 was 87, Lin Huiming, chief detective of Ruili public security bureau, told the magazine.

Ruili police in July cracked down on a syndicate said to have lured at least 90 Myanmar women to China. One of the women had been killed because she was in bad health.

No one knows how many Myanmar women were handed to buyers in underdeveloped areas in Shandong, Anhui, Hubei, Henan, Fujian and Sichuan provinces, said Li Shunqiong, an officer in Yunnan's public security department.

Many victims were sold several times and were not able to be traced, Li said.

The eldest victim found so far was 57 while the youngest was only 11 years old.

Sometimes, some Myanmar women were unwilling to return home as they had fallen in love with their buyers and even had children with them, she said. But most expressed deep gratitude when they were rescued.


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