Pushed to the Brink - Conflict and human trafficking on the Kachin-China border

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On the surface, Burma seems to be strengthening its fight against human trafficking. Burma’s long-held position in the lowest ranking of international trafficking efforts finally inched upwards a rank as a result of several policy reforms and new programs. An anti-trafficking hotline opened, as did several anti-trafficking task force offices. Anti-trafficking stickers and posters are plastered in areas across the country, and American singer Jason Mraz recently teamed with MTV to hold a massive free concert in Rangoon to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Yet at the same time, conflict rages a thousand kilometers away in northern Burma. Government army offensives have driven tens of thousands of people from their homes to the China border, vastly increasing their vulnerability to trafficking.

The stark contrast between the Burmese government’s anti-trafficking rhetoric and its actions on the ground is what we aim to highlight in this report.

Our earlier reports Driven Away (2005) and Eastward Bound (2008) had documented the growing incidence of trafficking along the China-Burma border. This new report looks at the impacts of the renewed conflict on this problem. We sincerely hope that our findings will lead to more appropriate and holistic responses to this complex issue.