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8:00 a.m. August 20, 2013
First United States-Myanmar Trafficking in Persons Dialogue held
By Jeaneane Payne

The inaugural session of the U.S.-Myanmar Trafficking in Persons dialogue was held in Nay Pyi Taw on August 1, 2013. Representing the United States was Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Myanmar Police Chief Major General Zaw Win represented Myanmar.

In-depth discussions covered a variety of human trafficking issues, including forced labor, sex trafficking, and the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, with particular focus on the importance of employing a victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking, the need to show concrete results in holding to account perpetrators of all forms of trafficking, and the benefits of robust government-civil society partnerships.

Both governments agreed the dialogue was very productive and pledged their continued commitment to enhanced cooperation in addressing this serious crime and human rights issue under the auspices of the United States-Myanmar Joint Plan on Trafficking in Persons.

According to the 2011 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, Myanmar men, women, and children are trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation in Thailand, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, South Korea, Macau, and Pakistan. A report by UNIAP: The Human Trafficking Situation in Myanmar indicates that Myanmar has internal trafficking from rural areas to border areas with China and Thailand, particularly areas with trucking routes, mining areas, military bases, fishing villages, and military camps.

Myanmar recruits children as soldiers in its military which is the main perpetrator of forced labor inside the country. The 2011 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report indicates that in Chin State 92 percent of over 600 households reported at least one episode of a household member subjected to forced labor, including being forced to porter military supplies, sweep for landmines, or build roads, with the Burmese military imposing two-thirds of these forced labor demands.

The Burmese Government has taken steps to increase its arrests, prosecutions, convictions for cross border trafficking. In 2010, the Burmese regime reported that its police investigated 173 cases of human trafficking and convicted 234 traffickers with sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment.

Published August 20, 2013

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