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Thousands of Myanmar Women Are Trafficked for Forced Marriage in China: Report

The report was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT).

Titled "Estimating trafficking of Myanmar women for forced marriage and childbearing in China," the report looks at the prevalence of trafficking for forced marriage and childbearing in three locations: Kachin State and Northern Shan State in Myanmar, and Yunnan Province in China. The researchers found that 157 out of 394 respondents experienced forced marriage in China, which makes the prevalence rate of Myanmar women forced into marriage in China 39.8%. 

The researchers then estimated the number of women using this prevalence rate, which reveals that out of 171,000 Myanmar women and girls who have migrated to China in the past five years, 7,500 of them are likely to be in a forced marriage.

The report also highlights that 119 out of 394 respondents reported having experienced being forced to birth children, which translates to a 30.2% prevalence rate. This means that an estimated 5,100 out of 171,000 Myanmar women and girls in China are to be forced into carrying children.

Because selling women can have economic benefits, the research suggests that poverty and financial insecurities might be the main drivers for arranged marriages. Conflict and displacement also increase the risk. Younger women are likely to be pushed into marriage.

"Their main goal is they want to have one child. I have met many women who were trafficked and married for a few years and have one or many children. Most are not registered in the family, they have no identity cards and the are not Chinese citizens. So it was like they are hired just for bearing children. [...]. This is why the younger girls cost more. It is easier to get pregnant — to have babies," a 24-year-old respondent told the researchers.

Women in forced marriage are 6.5 times more likely to receive partner violence, 4.7 times more likely to suffer miscarriage(s) and 4.6 times more likely to have at least one child die.

[Photo via Creative Commons]

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