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Myanmar sentences 33 human traffickers to life in prison

The junta, accused by US of being one of the world's worst offenders for human trafficking, has sentenced 33 people to life imprisonment.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 13:06 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Military-run Myanmar, accused by Washington of being one of the world's worst offenders for human trafficking, has sentenced 33 traffickers to life imprisonment, state media reported on Monday.

The New Light of Myanmar said Chinese and Myanmar authorities worked together last July in northeast Shan State to rescue two women locked in a guesthouse in an unnamed frontier town, and arrested 64 traffickers.

"Under the information exchange programme between the police forces of the two countries, 64 human traffickers — 51 locals and 13 foreigners — were arrested," the government-controlled newspaper said.

A special court in Mandalay has handed down sentences against 33 of the Myanmar suspects in hearings held since December, the paper said.

The newspaper said 49 women from Myanmar had been lured to China with the promise of good jobs, but were instead sold and forced to marry older men. The fate of the majority of the trafficked women was not reported.

Myanmar made human trafficking illegal in September 2005, but in a report last year the US State Department listed the isolated nation as one of the world's worst offenders, along with North Korea and Laos.

It accused the junta of direct involvement in trafficking people for forced labour and sexual exploitation, a claim rejected by the Myanmar's military government, which said it was making efforts to combat the crime.

The US report said people from Myanmar were mainly trafficked to Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Thailand for sexual exploitation, domestic service and forced labour.

China, a key ally of Myanmar, is also increasingly concerned about crime along its borders, and blames the flood of illegal drugs into the country for rising addiction and HIV infections in its southwestern Yunnan province.

First Published: Feb 19, 2007 13:06 IST

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