Sex crimes and trafficking growing in Myanmar

Minara and Fatima were both raped when soldiers came to their village in Myanmar.

SANTA MONICA – Each day, new and horrifying reports detail the atrocities being committed in Myanmar.  However, in addition to the pillaging and burning down of villages, the Rohingya are major victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.

As the violence has increased for the Rohingya, so too has the sexual violence and crimes being committed against young girls.  Two sisters Fatima (15) and Minara (13) told Reuters of their harrowing experience with rape.  Last month, soldiers attacked their village, and in the process attacked these two children sexually. Minara expressed her disgrace and worry about no longer having her virginity.  “I‘m ashamed of what happened. I had many dreams for the future, but they are lost with my purity,” said Minara,

Reuters also talked to another 13-year-old girl, Adjuda, who explained the day she saw her parents murdered in front of her and then, just minutes later, had her virginity taken from her. “I felt the pain when he penetrated me and all I could think about was my lost virginity. I am no longer pure. I am an outcast now and will never find a husband,” she said

These are just a few examples of the large number of sexual crimes being committed in Myanmar.  Additionally, some children are even sold in human or sexual trafficking.

In 2016, the United States named Myanmar as one of the worst offenders of human trafficking.  Although they were removed from that list in 2017, the trafficking has certainly not stopped.

NZcity reports that not only is the child bride trade continuing in Myanmar, but that it is actually booming.  The child bride trade involves poor, underage, girls unknowingly being sold into marriage.  They are lured in by false promises of a job are then taken overseas and sold into marriage. Escape is rare, as they are often in a new country, unable to speak the language, and rarely, if ever, left alone.

According to Reuters, Matthew Smith, executive director of the Southeast Asia-based migrant and refugee protection group Fortify Rights, said that they had seen a “significant” rise in child brides following increased violence in Rakhine.

Human and sex trafficking is a major problem throughout the world, especially in violence ridden Myanmar. Despite human and sexual trafficking being illegal globally, Equality Now reports that sexually exploiting and trafficking woman and children is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

Thirteen-year-old Minara grew up in a conservative Muslim family in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Having been raped by a soldier last month, she feels ashamed and worries about her lost virginity.

Photos/some content courtesy of Reuters.