Girl freed from trafficker after five years of forced labour

Girl freed from trafficker after five years of forced labour

A Burmese girl who was trafficked into Thailand and exploited for five years by another Burmese national was rescued last Friday by migrant rights group the Myanmar Association in Thailand (MAT) with assistance from the Royal Thai Police.

Aye Aye Soe, now 16 years old, was brought to Thailand in 2011 from Mergui (Myeik) in Tenasserim Division by Than Htay, a 42-year-old woman from her neighbourhood who told the girl’s family that she could find her a job paying 70,000 kyat at a restaurant in the Mon State capital of Moulmein.

The girl claimed that Than Htay forced her to do various forms of manual labour, including work at construction sites, plantations and karaoke bars, while taking all her wages and only occasionally giving her between 50 and 100 baht (US1.45-2.90) in pocket money.

Aung Myo Thant, MAT’s legal advisor, said Aye Aye Soe managed to escape after becoming friends with another Burmese while working at a hotel in southern Thailand’s Surat Thani Province. The fellow migrant worker contacted her family in Burma and informed them about her situation.

The family promptly reached out to the government’s anti-human trafficking task forces in Mergui and Kawthaung, which contacted MAT in Bangkok. The group, accompanied by Thai police, rescued the girl from her Surat Thani workplace on 2 September. The police also arrested Than Htay, who lived in the same area.

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“We rescued the girl from the hotel where she was working last Friday, and now she has been given shelter at a rescue centre in the town. We are now discussing what to do next with the Thai Army, police and anti-human trafficking officials,” said Aung Myo Thant, adding that the girl’s mother has also arrived in Thailand.

According to MAT, Than Htay also scammed Aye Aye Soe’s family out of 300,000 kyat ($247) when she promised to find her a job in Moulmein.

MAT has rescued a total of 312 Burmese migrants in 23 human-trafficking cases in Thailand so far this year, leading to the arrest of nine human traffickers.

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