Rescued from Human Trafficking in Myanmar

May 10, 2018 • Myanmar
Safe migration training in Myanmar
Samaritan's Purse is teaching people in Myanmar about safe migration. Many families living in impoverished communities cross the border in search of employment and become vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers.

Samaritan’s Purse brings knowledge, opportunities, and hope to impoverished villages where workers are vulnerable to exploitation.

The last contact Wah’s family had with their son was a phone call from prison. They didn’t know why he was in prison or when he would be released.

Wah had left his home in Myanmar for work in another Southeast Asian country because a job recruiter promised him a good-paying job in a factory. “I wanted to send back money to support my family,” he said.

Safe migration training in Myanmar

Samaritan’s Purse staff teach about the dangers of unsafe migration.

Wah, 35, grew up in a poor family that didn’t own land to grow crops. Wah, his parents, and six siblings rely on being hired as seasonal workers on neighboring farms.

Once Wah left Myanmar, he worked for about six months before being arrested. “We had to stay in jail for four months without any explanation or information on how to return home,” Wah said.

Wah was very worried because no one would tell him why he was arrested. He didn’t know if the recruiter had given him improper documents, or if he was being falsely accused of entering the country as an illegal migrant worker. Some employers will sometimes hire migrants to work in their factories, but, just before pay day, they call the authorities and claim that the migrant is undocumented, thereby avoiding having to pay them.

Labor trafficking victims like Wah are often promised a good salary but are then forced to work long hours without compensation. Traffickers lure people with the promise of a better life, only to leave them feeling more helpless, vulnerable, exploited, and entrapped.

Samaritan’s Purse staff in Myanmar teach people about the dangers of what is called “unsafe migration.” Crossing international borders without proper documents such as a passport, visa, or work permit can increase the risk of exploitation. Even with these documents, people can still become trafficking victims.

Our staff play a game about safe migration with the children while their parents are in a training.

Our staff play a game about safe migration with the children while their parents are in a training.

The Samaritan’s Purse safe migration education project teaches people about the importance of emergency phone numbers, an emergency plan, photocopying documents to leave with family at home, a communication plan, collecting information on a future workplace before migrating, and other safe migration skills.

We also help people understand the potential dangers of migration and how to recognize common ways traffickers deceive people.

Wah’s parents reached out to Samaritan’s Purse because they were worried about their son. Our team in Myanmar helped them contact the recruitment agency, which had no information about their son. Our staff knew the only way they could help Wah’s family was to pray for God to bring Wah home.

An Unlikely Escape

One day, Wah was notified that a Christian woman in Myanmar had hired a lawyer in order to help arrange for his release. Wah was shocked, as he didn’t know who the woman was who had paid for his release. No one ever found out the woman’s identity or how she learned about Wah’s situation. It was obvious that God had answered prayers and demonstrated His mighty power in a miraculous way.

“God did amazing things,” said Ma Moo, Samaritan’s Purse migration education and trafficking awareness project assistant in Myanmar. “I was invited to come to the village to celebrate Wah’s return.”

“God did amazing things.”

Wah could hardly believe that he had survived his time in prison. “Praise God that I arrived back home safely,” he said. “Thank you, Samaritan’s Purse, for your support and encouragement to my family. Most of all, thank you for your prayers.”

Ma Moo met with Wah and his family once he returned to his village. She taught them about safe migration and how to reduce their vulnerability to being trafficked and exploited.

Protection for the Future

In addition to migration education for village families, Samaritan’s Purse also teaches local pastors and church leaders in Myanmar how to recognize trafficking and how to help people in their congregation avoid unsafe migration. People often ask their pastor to pray for them before they migrate, providing the pastor an important opportunity to help teach about safe migration.

A local pastor in a remote village contacted our team for help when he realized that a 15-year-old in his church was a labor trafficking victim. Lin and another young girl from the village migrated to another country for work only to be sent home by immigration authorities because they weren’t of legal age to work in that country.

Safe migration training in Myanmar

Families who learn about safe migration are less likely to be deceived by traffickers.

Lin had listened to the trafficker and migrated because she was desperate to help her family. Lin lives with her mother, stepfather, and sister, and they are without a source of steady income. They do farming, road construction, or other manual labor jobs as people are willing to hire them.

Sadly, even when Lin returned to Myanmar, circumstances did not improve. The trafficker forced Lin into a domestic service job in Yangon and required her to give him her entire salary.

That’s when the local pastor made Samaritan’s Purse aware and our staff was able to help Lin escape the trafficking situation. Our staff contacted a local organization to help Lin address the legal issues related to her situation. We also helped Lin secure a sewing job in Myanmar that is safe and provides a fair wage.

“Lin is happy to learn a new skill and to help support her family,” said Sandy Lian, a Samaritan’s Purse migration education trainer.

Please pray that young people like Lin and Wah will continue to be able to provide for their families. Ask God to work through our projects and church partners in Southeast Asia to protect people from human trafficking, as we reach out to poor and vulnerable families in Jesus’ Name.

SUPPORT
Samaritan’s Purse works with churches along borders in Southeast Asia and elsewhere to help protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking and slavery. Your gift will help us to reduce exploitation, provide vocational training, and introduce laborers to the One they can trust.
Help Prevent Human Trafficking Samaritan’s Purse works with churches along borders in Southeast Asia and elsewhere to help protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking and slavery. Your gift will help us to reduce exploitation, provide vocational training, and introduce laborers to the One they can trust.

Human Trafficking/Exploitation 013964
Suggested Gift: $125
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