U Nyein Chan conducts CWG session with students to increase knowledge of how to protect themselves from trafficking in persons
U Nyein Chan, a village farmer, is a chairperson of a community watch group (CWG) serving the Asho Chin tribe in a remote area of Aung Lan Township in Magwe. He has participated in the CWG since July 2017 when he completed the Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) trafficking in persons training. U Nyein Chan was inspired to complete the training after he observed many instances of human trafficking in his village. One specific case involved Ko Tun* who was enslaved in an off-shore fishery near Malaysia for over 15 years. After being rescued by the Malaysian government, he was repatriated with support from the Myanmar government, but suffered deeply with depression from the experience. To avoid this fate for others, U Nyein Chan organizes community awareness sessions, not only in his village, but also with primary and middle school students. He also works with potential migrant workers to verify the credentials of foreign employment agents.
U Soe Win, from Let Pan Hla village, is also a chairperson of a CWG. With his support, Ko Min Min* recovered money from an unscrupulous employment broker who was not providing the services for which he was paid. The broker had collected a significant amount of money from at least 6 villagers. When Ko Min discovered the scam, he sought the assistance of KMSS to obtain a partial refund and to make others aware that no money should be paid in advance to brokers.
The majority of men, ages 24-50, from both villages typically migrate to Thailand or Malaysia for employment. KMSS was the first organization to provide awareness raising to combat human trafficking. With grant funding from Tetra Tech’s Promoting the Rule of Law Project (PRLP), KMSS is working to prevent TIP by increasing awareness of the pitfalls and providing safe migration information. They establish CWGs in villages in the Magwe Region, Sagaing Region and in Eastern Shan. The CWG, comprised of 7 men and women community members, empowers local communities in the fight against trafficking in persons. To date, KMSS has completed 16 community awareness raising trainings, held 35 CWG awareness sessions, held an anti-TIP day celebration, conducted community leader mainstreaming training, and conducted a coordination meeting with local CSOs.
PRLP is implementing 5 TIP grants with local organizations to increase awareness and prevention, provide assistance to survivors, and offer free legal aid and advice.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.