09/18/2014, 00.00
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Archbishop of Yangon: human trafficking, "a hell that shames Myanmar"

by Francis Khoo Thwe
Msgr. Charles Bo lashes out against this modern form of slavery, particularly widespread in South-East Asia. The Burmese dictatorship created a "nation of the Exodus" and the current government also shows nothing but "indifference". Harsh accusations against China and its one-child policy, the cause of an "abominable" trafficking.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - Trafficking in human beings is a "virtual hell" and "shames" Myanmar, which is also involved in a phenomenon that  affects millions of people around the world writes  Msgr. Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon heartfelt in a letter, issued on 13 September. The bishop has long been active in the defense of human rights, unity and religious freedom in the former Burma, where violence and abuse towards minorities and internal dissent persist.

He appeals directly to the government asking them to stop this new form of modern slavery, which particularly affects women who are exploited not only for work, but also with sexual purposes. And South-East Asia, he warns, is home to the world's "poorest and most vulnerable".

Msgr. Bo states that the region has "lost its sense of dignity" because of "drug barons, who cynically manipulate governments," as well as the systems put in place to "earn as much money as possible" by illegal means. A problem that especially affects Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. The prelate terms his country a "nation of the Exodus", due to "man-made disasters", above all 60 years "of a merciless dictatorship" which has led to massive "under-development".

"Those who practice human trafficking - charges Msgr. Bo - have much to gain in the trafficking of young innocent Burmese ", who are sold "as merchandise." Many other men and women, end up "dying inside containers", during failed attempts at "illegal immigration".

The priest echoes the warnings of international NGOs, which accuse the government of "indifference", even the "complicity" of some members with the network of smugglers who end up leading young people into "forced labor." "What saddens me most - he added - is the total absence of attempts to combat this phenomenon. And the network of traffickers grows more prosperous every day". He also points to the protagonists of the civil raging in the States inhabited by ethnic minorities, both on the government side and among the militias, who are doing nothing - the prelate denounces -  "to protect the daughters of Myanmar". "The men have been subjected to the yoke of slavery - says Msgr. Bo - and the women exposed to sexual abuse."

Given the recent economic and social, the prelate notes a similar growth of a form of capitalism where "the rich get richer and the poor poorer ". He also denounces the phenomenon of progressive confiscation of land and the ever increasing loss of rights. Communities, institutions and religious groups have to "sensitize" the public "about these issues and to campaign," relying on " government cooperation".

Finally, the Archbishop also condemns China and its disastrous one-child policy, which has caused serious damage beyond its own national borders. Millions of men find themselves without women, states Msgr. Bo, and with no prospect of married life.  This has resulted in one of the most "abominable" phenomenon in the trafficking in human beings "registered on this earth in the last few years". Make this country a nation of opportunity "not only for the rich, but for everyone," says the Archbishop of Yangon, where we can hope in "a new era of freedom" with "the total abolition" of "all forms of slavery".


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