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Kachin Women’s Association Thailand’s human trafficking report “Pushed to the Brink”

June 17, 2013
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Kachin Women’s Association Thailand has released the report Pushed to the Brink. The report assesses a rise in incidents of human trafficking along the Kachin-China border resulting from the ongoing conflict between the KIA and the Burma army. KWAT had previously documented trafficking along the Kachin-China border in their reports Driven Away (2005) and Eastward Bound (2008).

The conflict began in June of 2011 ending a long standing ceasefire agreement. Over 100,000 refugees have fled from fighting to IDP camps along the Kachin-China border. The conflict increases conditions in which women and children are susceptible to trafficking. The quasi-civilian Burma government has allowed humanitarian organizations to visit the camps in government controlled areas. Humanitarian organizations have not been allowed to visit the IDP camps in Kachin controlled areas where over 70,000 refugees reside.

In 2012, the United States recognized that Burma was increasing its efforts to combat human trafficking. In the State Department’s Human Trafficking report Burma was escalated from the Tier 3 country to a Tier 2 country. Though the report states that nations are ranked according to their efforts to combat trafficking and not their success, the increased rank leads to other problems. Because of their new Tier 2 rating, the IMF and other aid agencies are pledged support. These funds might be mismanaged while the majority of IDP camps along the Kachin-China border continue to receive no aid.

KWAT works closely with Kachin Women’s Association and is a founding member of Women’s League of Burma.

Kachin Women’s Association Thailand’s recommendations are as follows,

To the Burmese government
• End all military aggression, begin troop withdrawal from Kachin areas of Burma, and enter into political dialogue with the Kachin Independence Army
• Allow humanitarian aid agencies to freely access and provide aid to IDPs in Kachin-controlled areas
• Facilitate the provision of border passes for IDPs along the China-Burma border, including allowing IDPs to use alternative identifying documents to make the passes
To the Chinese government
• Give shelter and protection to refugees fleeing conflict in Burma
• Facilitate provision of aid to IDPs in Kachin-controlled areas along the China border
To the international community
• Re-impose targeted sanctions on Burma that have been suspended
• Immediately provide humanitarian aid through community based organizations (CBOs) working cross-border to assist IDPs in Kachin-controlled areas
• International humanitarian agencies must recognize and support local CBOs already providing services in Kachin IDP areas, and make efforts not to duplicate existing programs
• Anti-trafficking agencies should seek to address the trafficking problem in Burma holistically, and ensure that the Burmese government is doing the same.




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