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Preventing Labor Trafficking in Myanmar

Star Light Htoo works with the Samaritan’s Purse migration education and trafficking awareness program in Myanmar.

Saw Shwe’s family adopted a 13-year-old whose parents died during Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Saw Shwe treated him like his own son. At age 19, the son decided to leave Myanmar and migrate with his friend in order to find work.

His friend’s uncle had recruited them for work, but they were not told what type of work it would be. They were sent out to sea to work on a fishing boat that would only return to port once a month.

After the first month at sea the boys received about $185, which they were very happy about. They worked for about another year but never received their promised salary. They were afraid to quit because their manager threatened them. Security guards prevented them from leaving the boat.

One day, when the guards were not on duty, the boys found their chance to run away. Saw Shwe’s son was able to escape and eventually made his way back home to his family. Unfortunately, his friend was arrested.

“I was so sad for my son when he told me his story,” Saw Shwe said.

Saw Shwe is grateful for the Samaritan’s Purse training he received about safe migration and trafficking awareness.

“I have never received training like this before. The topic, lessons, and case studies are practical and relevant to my life,” he said. “I will share about human trafficking and safe migration to my community so that they can be vigilant about preventing it.”