Myanmar Girls Forced To Sell Their Virginity

Myanmar Girls Forced To Sell Their Virginity
示意圖。Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

What you need to know

Myanmar people believe that breaking one's virginity can prolong life and even treat AIDS, so many locals living in poverty sell their daughters' virginity to survive and there is quite a large demand for a girl's chastity.

Liberty Times reports, Sid Naing, country director of Marie Stopes International Myanmar, a Burma humanitarian organization, says the problem of child prostitution in Burma is very serious. People believe that breaking one’s virginity can prolong life and even treat AIDS, so many locals living in poverty sell their daughters’ virginity to survive and there is quite a large demand for a girl’s chastity.

China Times reports, 16-year-old Wut Yee (an alias) says, her mother became a prostitute after her father remarried. Two years ago, she dropped out of school to help take care of her brothers. The roof of her home was in urgent need of repair and her brothers’ tuitions needed to be paid, so they were in desperate need of cash. This is why Wut Yee’s mother sold her virginity to a businessman for NT$ 97,500 (approximately US$ 3,000).

Apple Daily reports, Wut Yee says, “After a doctor injected me with an anesthetic on the second day, I left with the man. He drove me to a house in the outskirts and I stayed with him for the entire day. I didn’t feel any pain because of the anesthetic, but I couldn’t walk properly." She then went to work at a massage parlor that secretly operated as a brothel, and become a street prostitute after two months.

Local aid workers say cases like Wut Yee aren’t uncommon. But because prostitution is illegal, so it’s difficult to obtain the actual number of girls that were forced to sell their bodies. Women organizations also say virgin trafficking and child prostitution originate from poverty.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

Apple Daily reports, according to official data issued by the Myanmar government and the United Nations in 2013, 0.45 percent, meaning 40,000 to 80,000 Myanmar women, between the ages of 15 to 49 are prostitutes. 21-year-old single mother Poh Poh has been separated from her husband for a year and says most girls enter the “virgin market" and it’s very difficult to escape once you enter. A lot of people end up in beauty salons or massage parlors, because it’s safer than street prostitution.

A prostitute says, “I don’t want to blame my mother for having me do these things. If I get married one day, I just want to make sure my daughter won’t suffer the same fate."

Members of the National League for Democracy and prostitute organizations have called on the authorities to amend the law to strengthen protection and provide assistance for prostitutes.

Naing warns that if the government is not willing to face these problems, it will only make the issue of child prostitution worse. Regarding the support and rehabilitation of prostitution, he says, “Child prostitution is directly related to poverty. Society should not blame them, but should understand the current situation and help them get back on track."

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Translated by Olivia Yang and Sarah Grasdijk
Edited by Olivia Yang