Last summer one of my Refugee Seminar students, Marsha-Ann Davidson, interned at a law firm in China. The experience led her to research and write an excellent paper concerning gender and human trafficking in China. she has given me permission to post it here. Read and learn.
IMPACT OF GENDER IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING: CHINA
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
Memey is a 28 year old Indonesian woman who after losing her husband sought employment abroad; being poverty stricken and uneducated she saw overseas employment as her only option to support her child.  Perpetrators took advantage of her illegal status and promised her work.  Upon arrival in Malaysia Memey was given new clothes, makeup and was treated to dinner.  This was however the only pleasant experience that she had since arriving in the new country because she was then put to work as a sex worker rather than working as a waitress as she had expected.  With no access to her passport and no contact with the outside world Memey found herself trapped in a country with no friends and no way to return to her homeland; she had fallen victim to the scourge of human trafficking.  Memey however was more fortunate than many others as she was aided by a client and was later rescued.  She was however left with the scars of the ordeal; the horrific experiences that she had encountered and HIV as a constant reminder.  Like many human trafficking victims Memey kept silent about her experiences for many years withholding this information even from her family because of shame and humiliation. Memey and others in similar situations generally keep this to themselves for varying reasons. Some perpetrators instill fear in their victims by threatening to kill their family members or hurt them badly if they try to escape. Some victims may feel that they have let down their families. For victims like Memey there is little hope because of the slight impact that efforts to combat human trafficking has made.
Every year millions of men women and children alike are trafficked and sold to many countries around the world; this is a lucrative business amounting to billions of dollars annually. There is a growing need for awareness of human trafficking and although more and more people are becoming aware; human trafficking remains a growing concern as there are still leaps to be made in effecting a change in this global problem. We hear continuous cries from victims such as Lamo Bokdin who after accepting a job in a restaurant in China was later told by her boss that her services were no longer needed at the restaurant and a contract was made for her to marry his brother. Her boss signed a contract for $6000 US dollars and warned Lamo that if she refused to marry his brother, she would be offered to other buyers.  After 3 months of captivity and no interaction with others Lamo escaped.  We also hear the cries from victims such as Khin Khin who was sold by her father at age four to pay off a gambling debt and to escape a lifetime of poverty. She was then sold for a second time in China.  “China is designated as a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.”  Although we may not live in China this affects our global community in many ways some of which will be discussed in this paper. Through this paper my goal is to bring a renewed awareness of human trafficking as problem of deep concern in China. Read more