Plight of Burmese Child Sex Slaves Revealed
covering burma and southeast asia
Monday, April 23, 2018

Plight of Burmese Child Sex Slaves Revealed

By BA KAUNG Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Burmese sex workers outside a Ranong brothel. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANONG, Thailand—“The latest price of 'opening a Burmese packing' here is 13,000 baht,” explained Thidar, a Burmese prostitute in Thailand's Ranong province bordering southern Burma.

Inside the brothel of No. 3 Ranongpattani Road, a group of Burmese prostitutes reveal that “opening a Burmese packing” means a Burmese virgin girl being forced to work for the first time in the brothels of this small fishing port town.

They explain that every month around 40 girls from all over Burma—some as young as 13 or 14—are sold by human traffickers to Thai brothels in Ranong. Some are even sent to the popular tourist resort of Phuket, with around 200 Burmese girls currently working as prostitutes in their brothel alone.

“She came here for 'packing opening' three months ago,” Thidar said, pointing at a Burmese teenager sitting in the corner of the dingy room where they received Thai and Burmese customers.

Thidar herself is a former vegetable seller from Rangoon's Insein Township. She was approached 10 years ago in her local market by a Burmese woman who told her that she could make good money at a restaurant in Kawthaung, the Burmese border town on the opposite side to Ranong.

“The woman said I would have a good selling job and I wanted to earn some money,” she said. So at the tender age of 15, she left her mother and stepfather and was taken from Rangoon to Kawthaung with two female companions of a similar age.

Upon arrival in Kawthaung she was kept in a restaurant sealed with curtains for two days, but ran away after being forced into sex with a Burmese man.

“I ran away in the rain onto the streets of Kawthaung market,” she said. “When I saw a police station, I asked for help. But the lady followed me and brought me back from the police saying I would be sent home to Rangoon.”

But when she was back to the brothel again, she was tied with ropes and flogged. A few days later, she was taken with some other young girls to Ranong in a small boat and sold to a Thai brothel owner in the neighborhood of Paukkhaung.

“After I arrived, I was asked to take a pill and then I fell asleep. When I woke up, I found myself naked and smeared with blood.”

The brothel owner told her that she had to pay back the amount of money which he had bought her for. Even since then, she has been working as a prostitute and now has two children fathered by a Mon fisherman who died at sea during a storm.

These prostitutes' income depends on the number of customers they receive. For a single instance of sexual intercourse the brothel owner charges a customer 350 baht, of which the worker only receives half.

“I don't know what else to do for a living except this job. I could not undo what had happened, so I kept this job,” she said.

According to Thidar and her fellow workers, poverty and lack of care by their own parents were main reasons why they were tricked by human traffickers and forced into prostitution. Ei Ei, in her 20s, the daughter of a sea gypsy family in Kawthaung, said she hates her mother who never sent her to school and did not look after her properly. She added that she held various jobs to support the family ever since childhood.

“I used to work on a dynamite-fishing boat and also on a squid boat at sea,” she said.

She was later approached by a prostitution broker and first arrived in a Ranong brothel five years ago. As a prostitute, she has already married four times and is now addicted to various kinds of illicit drugs which she buys with her meager wages or receives from customers in exchange for oral sex.

She said that the use of drugs, particularly a drug compound called “Asean” popular among the Burmese community there, helps her forget the harsh treatment received from her customers.

“The Burmese fishermen are the worst in abusing us. They force me to perform oral sex against my will and they also refuse to use condoms,” she said.

Like most of her colleagues, she has no identification card and thus has to pay the police a license fee of 200 baht every day.

In this town of 130,000 thousand Burmese migrant workers, the local police refuse to tackle the human trafficking issue and are even collaborating with the criminals, claims Kyaw Than, a local Burmese restaurant owner who migrated from Burma 32 years ago.

“These very young Burmese girls keep streaming in. The policemen themselves are involved in these issues,” he said.

Burmese workers in Ranong face high risks of disease including malaria and HIV/AIDS, plus limited access to medical facilities and a poor educational environment for their children. These migrants—particularly Burmese sex workers—also face police and military harassment, according to a 2009 survey by the Institute of Developing Economies.

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Liz Hilton Empower Wrote:
AGAIN???!! How many times will Irrawaddy publish sensationalist tabloid articles about migrant sex workers? Your language is highly offensive e.g. prostitutes, child sex slaves and other words that undermine human dignity. There is no real analysis, critique or substance... or even anything new said.. shock horror pity only !!! Shame on you...AGAIN!!!!!!

John Le Fevre Wrote:
Thank you for publishing this story. The situation is appalling and it comes as no surprise that the Royal Thai Police are complicit in this filthy business.

Sometimes there is a perfectly acceptable excuse for extrajudicial action. It's sad that not enough people care enough to bother taking that action against the low-life cockroaches involved in this disgusting business.

It's also a blight on those western journalists who vacation in Thailand and decide to pay for their booze by writing a story about foreigners are the cause of the sex industry when in fact the biggest users of prostitution - especially children - are Thai, Burmese, etc.

Prism Wrote:
Each year by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of girls and boys are trafficked globally. Child trafficking is a global issue.
Very few people are actually aware of how large the problem is. Even if people are aware, they generally turn a blind eye towards the entire situation. For this reason, the level of awareness needs to be increased drastically.
"Sold: An MTV EXIT Special", a gripping documentary presented by Indian actress and UNFPA Ambassador, Lara Dutta. The Program introduces the tragedy of trafficking in South Asia where thousand of young girls and boys are sold into modern-day slavery and shows how each one of us can help to prevent modern-day slavery.
To watch this documentary online visit:

PASSAGE FROM MANDALAY by Teresa Orr (Pen Name)
This is my latest book about corruption in Burma and Thailand.
It exposes the people trafficking operations that exist concerning young girls exported to Thailand to work in the sex industry.
A novel set in Chiang Mai, Thailand telling how one girl was rescued from forced prostitution.
It also mentions the work done by Burma Rangers.
Avilable from and as a paperback or as a download.
It is also available from Amazon as an ebook. (Paperback available in about 4 weeks)
A proportion of the sales go to a Womens Refuge in Chiang Mai.
ISBN 978-4476-6124-5
Kind regards

Venus Wrote:
We need to focus on "Children and Women's Education, especially Vocational Education" to be able to find jobs for their living. Just think of saving some money from our leisure money and contributing to women's education. Every one should support for women and children's education. Monastic education is now key to save women to fall into prostitution. Let's help anything we can to educate for children and women and tell them "going abroad is not always a heeaven. See Burmese slave labour every corner in Thailand".

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