Girl sold to traffickers by her mother

Jan 23, 2008 (DVB), A seventeen-year-old Burmese girl, who escaped from human traffickers in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, said she had been sold to the traffickers by her mother.

Ma Noe Noe, who is from the Burmese border township of Myawaddy in Karen state, said that her mother, Daw Khin San Wai, had sold her to human traffickers from Mae Sot for 500,000 kyat.

"The human smuggler arrived at our house and asked my mother how much she wanted and my mother replied 500,000 kyat. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was only borrowing money from the woman," said Noe Noe.

"Then she asked me to go with the woman and said she would come and pick me up in the evening. So I went. But my mother never appeared."

Noe Noe said she was kept in the traffickers’ safe house in Mae Sot with 12 other girls and was not allowed to make contact with the outside world.

"I was kept under close watch all the time, even when I showered," she said.

"I slipped out of the house by telling them I wanted to make a phone call to my brother. When I got outside I ran straight for a nearby motorbike taxi and made my escape."

Noe Noe blamed financial difficulties for her mother's decision.

"I feel very sad when I look at other families. My mother sold me to the traffickers because she had no money to eat," Noe Noe said.

Noe Noe’s aunt, Daw See Sar, said she was angry with her sister after hearing what had happened, and pledged she would not let her get the teenager back.

"I am furious with [Noe Noe’s] mother for selling her own daughter like this," said Daw See Sar.

"I am keeping the child with me and am not going to let her go back with her mother."

Aung Myo Min, the director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma said that Noe Noe's story reflected the struggle facing many families in Burma.

"We assume this happened because the level of poverty is so bad in Burma now that families cannot earn enough money even for survival," he said.

"This is because of the military junta's upside-down economic system and violations of human rights."

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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