Prostitution in Burma

Prostitution in Burma

Prostitution in Burma is a major social issue that particularly affects women and children.

Burma is a major source of prostitutes (an estimate of 20,000–30,000) in Thailand, with the majority of women trafficked taken to Ranong, a location that borders Burma at its south, and Mae Sai, which is located at the eastern tip of Burma. [cite book |last=Barry |first=Kathleen |title=The Prostitution of Sexuality |year= |publisher=NYU Press |isbn=ISBN 0-8147-1277-0 ] cite web |url= |title= WOMEN |accessdate=2007-01-11 |year=2005 |month=October |format=HTML |work=Burma: Country in Crisis |publisher=Soros ] Burmese sex workers also operate in Yunnan, China, particularly the border town of Ruili. [cite news |author=Kyaw Zwa Moe |title=Yunnan’s Sin City |url= |work=The Irrawaddy |date=2005-01 |accessdate=2008-07-02 ] The majority of Burmese prostitutes in Thailand are from ethnic minorities. Additionally, 60% of Burmese prostitutes are under 18 years of age.cite web |url= |title=Burma/Myanmar |accessdate=2007-01-11 |last=Hughes |first=Donna M. |format=HTML |work=Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation |publisher=University of Rhode Island ] Burma is also a source country of sex workers and forced labourers in China, Bangladesh, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Korea, Macau, and Japan.cite web |url= |title=V. Country Narratives -- Countries A through G
accessdate=2007-01-11 |format=HTML |work=Trafficking in Persons Report
] Internal trafficking of women for the purpose of prostitution occurs from rural villages to urban centres, military camps, border towns, and fishing villages.

Women are often lured into prostitution with the promise of legitimate jobs, substantially higher pay, and because their low educational levels makes it difficult for them to find jobs elsewhere. In many instances, such women come from remote regions. [cite web | last=Chelala | first= Cesar |url= |title=Women, prostitution, and AIDS |accessdate=2007-01-11 |format=HTML |work=THE STATE OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH ]

In Yangon, prostitution often occurs in hotels that also operate as brothels. The recent appearance of massage parlours began in 1995, with ethnic minority groups such as the Wa running such businesses in particular. [cite news |author=Aung Zaw |title=No Sex Please—We’re Burmese |url= |work=The Irrawaddy |date=2001-02-01 |accessdate=2007-01-11 ] Nightclubs in Yangon are also frequented by prostitutes who work independently. [cite news |first=Chris |last=O'Connell |title=Burma à la Mode |url= |work=The Irrawaddy |date=2003-10-08 |accessdate=2007-01-11 ] Throughout the country, the sex industry generally operates out of restaurants, brothels posing as guesthouses, and nightclubs. [cite news |author=Htet Aung |title=Selling Safer Sex in Conservative Burma |url= |work=The Irrawaddy |date=2008-09 |accessdate=2008-07-02 ] Since Cyclone Nargis hit in May 2008, the number of prostitutes in Yangon has increased significantly, thus depreciating prices for prostitution services.cite news |author=Aung Htet Wine |title=Sex and the (Burmese) City |url= |work=The Irrawaddy |date=2008-07 |accessdate=2008-07-11 ]


Prostitutes in Burma are called by a number of different terms. They may be called _my. ပြည့်တံဆာ and _my. အပြာမယ်. In slang usage, _my. ကြက်မ ("chicken") and _my. ညမွှေးပန်း ("fragrant flowers of the night") are also used.


Prostitution was banned in 1785, during the early Konbaung dynasty period. [cite book |author=Thant Myint-U |title=The Making of Modern Burma |year=2001 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |isbn=ISBN 0-5217-9914-7 ]

Under the Suppression of Prostitution Act, which was enacted in 1949, the act of soliciting or seducing in public is illegal, as is forcing or enticing women into prostitution or owning brothels. The Penal Code guarantees protection of female children from sexual abuse, with any persons found having sexual intercourse with a girl of under 14 years charged (with or without consent) charged with rape. The Child Law, enacted in 1993, raised the age of consensual sex to 16 and illegalizes prostitution. The Child Law also makes it a punishable offence to use children in the creation of pornographic materials. However, no laws currently protect boys. [cite web |url= |title=Burma - Government laws |accessdate=2007-01-11 |format=HTML | ]


Burma has the third highest HIV prevalence rate in Asia, after Cambodia and Thailand. Sex workers are particularly at risk, with 32% infected with the disease. [cite web |url= |title=Asia |accessdate=2007-01-09 |format=PDF |work=UNAIDS |month=December | year=2006 ]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.