Estimating trafficking of Myanmar women for forced marriage and childbearing in China

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Thousands of women and girls are being trafficked from Myanmar to China and forced to marry and bear children, according to new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT).

In 2017, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Humanitarian Health partnered with KWAT to conduct a mixed methods study (combining qualitative and quantitative research methods) in Kachin State and Northern Shan State in Myanmar, and Yunnan Province in China. The study seeks to estimate the prevalence of trafficking for forced marriage and childbearing among women and girls from Myanmar (specifically Kachin State and Shan State) to China (specifically Yunnan Province), as well as to improve understanding of the migration patterns, including risk and protective factors relating to force, coercion, and trafficking.

The report, “Estimating trafficking of Myanmar women for forced marriage and childbearing in China,” is the first systematic effort to quantify the scale of a problem that has important implications for cross-border migration and marriage policies and protection programs. The report also makes several recommendations to reduce forced marriages in the region.

“Victims of forced marriage suffer a range of rights violations and exposure to physical and psychological risks,” said Courtland Robinson, PhD, associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School and the report’s lead author. “This research draws attention to the scope of the problem and to the urgent need for support services for victims.”

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