Beijing, 11 November 2009 - An historic Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on strengthening bilateral cooperation towards combating human trafficking.
At a signing ceremony in Beijing, Vice Minister Zhang Xinfeng of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China and Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Union of Myanmar, Brig-Gen Phone Swe endorsed a momentous agreement that should pave the way for stronger and effective cooperation between the two countries on combating human trafficking. Myanmar is the first ASEAN member country to sign such an agreement with China on cooperation related to combating human trafficking.
Reports indicate a trend of trafficking of women from Shan State in Myanmar to China for forced marriage with Chinese citizens. Girls and young women from Northern Shan State, Yangon Division, Mandalay Division, Kachin State, Bago Division and Ayeyarwaddy Division are being trafficked to border towns in Yunnan Province and as far as Eastern China, where they are forced to marry Chinese men or work in the sex industry.
China and Myanmar are both signatories to the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Human Trafficking (COMMIT), an agreement adopted in 2004 by the six Mekong countries: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Under COMMIT, the governments of these six countries adopted a common action plan comprising several areas that are considered critical to effectively combating human trafficking in the region. The plan includes, inter alia, the creation of new multilateral and bilateral partnerships to combat human trafficking.
The new Memorandum of Understanding on Strengthening Cooperation on Combating Human Trafficking signed by China and Myanmar defines areas of cooperation as follows:
lPreventing and combating human trafficking between the two countries, and protecting victims of trafficking;
lJointly investigating human trafficking cases involving both countries, handing over suspects, and repatriating the victims of trafficking;
lConducting joint training in the fields of investigation of transnational human trafficking cases and protection of the victims of trafficking;
lExchanging information concerning transnational human trafficking criminal cases and pertinent laws and regulations; and
lEstablishing anti-trafficking liaison offices in the border areas to consolidate communication and collaboration between the two countries’ border police on combating transnational human trafficking crimes and providing victim protection services.
“By developing and strengthening this bilateral relationship between our two countries, cooperation can flourish between the police and public security services on both sides of our border. Cooperation mechanisms can be gradually built up and become more effective on a practical level. The agreement signed today will ensure that the border security and stability of China and Myanmar are effectively protected and maintained” said Mr. Zhang Xinfeng.
“We hope that the two sides will continue their efforts to strengthen this cooperation in order to tackle and prevent cross border crimes, while contributing to the security and stability of the border areas and the bilateral relationship between our two countries,” he continued.
At the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Home Affairs Brig-Gen Phone Swe of Myanmar thanked China’s Ministry of Public Security and expressed Myanmar’s appreciation for the strong cooperation enjoyed with China on law enforcement issues. He further expressed Myanmar’s readiness to work together at a practical level with China’s Ministry of Public Security to combat the transnational crime of human trafficking.