January 25, 2005

Mon: Young Girls Exploited for Sex

Many prostitutes working in Mon state are under the age of 18, the business community from the capital of Mon State, Moulmein, reports
Many prostitutes working in Mon state are under the age of 18, the business community from the capital of Mon State, Moulmein, reports.

“I think about 30 percent of them are children; we can tell how old they are by looking at their faces,” said a businessman who often visits places for sex and drinking. He added that in Ye Township alone, there are over ten brothels, each of which approximately has about 8 prostitutes working in there and men can easily buy alcohol and sex at a cost of 5-10 dollars (5,000-10,000 Kyats).

A bus driver from Mudon said some brothels are operated in co-operation with local authorities and the Burma Army. Customers who order drinks in the shop have taken opportunities of touching the girls while being served. The young girls have to follow the wishes of their customers, if they refuse the drunken men who approach them for sex, they could lose their jobs and vehicles.

Another Mon businessman who has a good relationship with local Burma Army commanders said that soldiers expect free sex when they visit the brothels. “The commanders get free sex because these young women worry about losing their business if they refuse. They are afraid of being arrested and their vehicles will be seized because they have no licenses.”

According to a youth leader from Thanbyu Zayat (ZopBu), there is a joke about a new threat to the prostitutes, who are exploited for sex. The young girls were told that they would be arrested if they don’t give free sex to the Army officers because they have no permission to own cars without licenses.

Nai Win (not his real name), a community leader, said that some men do not use condoms when they get drunk. The owners of brothel bars pay bribes to the local authorities on a monthly basis.

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