With grant support, CSOs are working to raise awareness and protect vulnerable citizens from TIP
Kengtung, in Eastern Shan State, is a trafficking in persons (TIP) gateway to China and Thailand. With grant funding from the Promoting the Rule of Law Project (PRLP), a local civil society organization, Mawkon, is working to combat this human rights violation and protect vulnerable citizens. On September 13th, more than 500 people including the Deputy State General Administrator, State Deputy People’s Police Force, State Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ATTF) commander, political parties, Members of Parliament, state and district level officers, and CSOs participated in the 5th annual anti-trafficking day, commemorating the passage of the Myanmar TIP law.
The Deputy State General Administrator noted that, “Myanmar has been undertaking many efforts to combat TIP for years. Because of lack of employment opportunities, development conditions, and armed conflicts, our people are vulnerable to trafficking.” One hundred and eight cases of human trafficking were handled by Myanmar courts between September 2016 and August 2017. Many more cases are suspected, but they often go unreported due to the sensitive nature of this crime. The government is working to improve their response and compliance with international standards, including the ASEAN Convention for Trafficking in Persons. Due to improved anti-TIP efforts, Myanmar was recently upgraded from Tier 3 to the Tier 2 watch list on the U.S. State Department TIP list. Myanmar continues to implement a 5-year strategic plan (2017-2021) designed to combat this insidious practice. The Deputy General Administrator highlighted in his remarks that “peace building is a big factor to prevent TIP.”
For this year’s celebration, Mawkon hosted a mobilization and public awareness event. The event included regional cooperation with the Executive Director of the Foundation of Child Understanding based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and 5 other participating foundations based in Chiang Rai. Events included essay, cartoon, poster, and painting competitions for middle and high school students. These items were displayed in an exhibition at the event (see photo), which also included a video in local dialect to raise awareness.
Daw Mi Mi Ko, a State ATTF commander, expressed her support by saying, “We work together in Kengtung to combat TIP and to overcome issues in the Triangle area.” Mawkon has become a key player in this fight against TIP in both Kengtung and Tachileik, conducting prevention and awareness efforts to protect children, youth, and women in marginalized communities.