Over 15,000 People Trafficked in Mekong

At least 15,000 people from Mekong were trafficked in 2009 with 71 percent of cases documented in China, data from the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking showed.

A total of 10,824 trafficked people were rescued in China during a nine-month drive in 2009 to curb human trafficking in the world’s second largest economy, according to the Chinese Ministry of Security.

A study by the International Labour Organisation found that forced prostitution, labor, and even forced begging were the key sectors of employment for trafficking victims in China, said UNIAP.

“Women and children may also be victims of forced marriages or illegal adoption,” it said.

Next to China is Vietnam with 2,935 cases and Cambodia with 901.

Thailand has the lowest number of documented victims of human trafficking at 103 in 2009 but the kingdom, with its robust economy, is a favorite destination country and transit point for human traffickers, agencies said.

“Men, women and children, primarily from Myanmar, are trafficked to Thailand for forced labor in fishing-related industries, factories, agriculture, construction, domestic work, and begging,” UNIAP said.

Women and children, it said, were trafficked from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam, Russia and Uzbekistan for the bustling sex industry in Thailand.

Myanmar’s Anti-Trafficking Unit recorded 155 cases of human trafficking in 2009, involving cases of forced marriage, prostitution and forced labor, the UN agency said.

UNIAP said that human trafficking was widespread in Mekong but little was known about specific patterns and trends in this Asian sub-region.

“Human trafficking is a crime involving the cheating of people into sexual servitude or labor for the purpose of their exploitation,” it said. “It affects individuals, families and entire communities in almost all parts of the world.”

In the Asia-Pacific Region, the ILO estimated that around 9.49 million people were into forced labor in 2005.

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