Advertisement

Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 35–52 | Cite as

Trafficking of Myanmar women for forced marriage in China

  • Geping Qiu
  • Sheldon X. ZhangEmail author
  • Weidi Liu
Article

Abstract

Trafficking of foreign women into China for forced marriage, once unheard of in China, has ceased to surprise the general public with frequent news stories about women from Vietnam, Myanmar, and North Korea being deceived and sold as brides into the interior of China. Using data extracted from official sources in the Chinese judicial system, we analyzed a total of 73 court cases involving 184 Myanmar women who were trafficked into China, spanning a period of 13 years (2003 through 2016). We found people of diverse backgrounds participated in the trafficking business, most were of low education and unemployed or underemployed. Little formal organizational structures appeared to be needed in these trafficking activities. The vast majority of traffickers were Chinese nationals, who seemed well-connected with the cross-border trade as well as traditional matchmaking business. Most trafficking occurred under the guise of employment opportunities, in which Myanmar women were offered jobs in interior China. The majority of victims appeared to have been recruited from inside Myanmar, and wound up being trafficked to three Chinese provinces (Henan, Anhui, and Shandong). Policy implications as well as Data limitations are also discussed.

Notes

References

  1. 1.
    Zhang, S. X., Chin, K., & Miller, J. (2007). Women’s participation in Chinese transnational human smuggling: A gendered market perspective. Criminology, 45(3), 699–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kangaspunta, K. (2007). Collecting data on human trafficking: Availability, reliability and comparability of trafficking data. In Measuring human trafficking (pp. 27–36).  https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-68044-6_4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shelley, F. M., & Metz, R. (2017). Geography of Trafficking: From Drug Smuggling to Modern-Day Slavery. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Larsen, J. J., David, F., & Diego-Rosell, P. (2018). 2018 Insight Series—Forced Marriage. Available at: http://walkfreefoundation.org-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/content/uploads/2018/01/30102059/01_Forced-Marriage-180130.pdf. Accessed 10 Dec 2018.
  5. 5.
    Bunting, A., Lawrance, B. N., & Roberts, R. L. (2016). Marriage by force?: Contestation over consent and coercion in Africa. Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    International Labor Organization (ILO). (2017). Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labor and forced marriage. Geneva: International Labor Organization Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf. Accessed 10 Dec 2018.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Robinson, W. C., & Branchini, C. (2018). Estimating Trafficking of Myanmar Women for Forced Marriage and Childbearing in China. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of. Public Health Accessed 28 Dec 2018. https://www.jhsph.edu/departments/international-health/news/_publications/ETFM_Full%20Report_07Dec2018_Final.pdf.
  8. 8.
    United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). (2016). Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016 (United Nations publication, sales no. E.16.IV.6). Vienna, Austria: UNODC Available at: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2016_Global_Report_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf. Accessed 10 Dec 2018.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Aung, E. C. (2017, August 24). Trafficked to China to marry, a Myanmar woman hopes to save others. In Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-trafficking-marriage/trafficked-to-china-to-marry-a-myanmarwoman-hopes-to-save-others-from-same-fate-idUSKCN1B402K. Accessed 10 Feb 2019.
  10. 10.
    Larmer, B. 2013. The price of marriage in China. The New York Times, March 9 th . https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/business/in-a-changing-china-new-matchmaking-markets.html. Accessed 22 Aug 2018.
  11. 11.
    Zhong, Z. F., & Chen, B. R. (2000). Trafficking of women: Characteristics, causes and responses. Law Science Magazine, 6, 48–49 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wang, J. Y. (2016). Buying and receiving trafficked women for marriage: A survival strategy. Yunnan Ethnic University Journal, 33(4), 73–78 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    The Economist. 2017. A distorted sex ratio is playing havoc with marriage in China. Published on November 23. Accessed 24 Dec 2018. https://www.economist.com/special-report/2017/11/23/a-distorted-sex-ratio-is-playing-havoc-with-marriage-in-china.
  14. 14.
    Heshketh, T., Zhou, X., & Wang, Y. (2015). The end of the one-child policy lasting implications for China. JAMA, 314(24), 2619–2620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zhu, W. X., Lu, L., & Hesketh, T. (2009). China’s excess males, sex selective abortion, and one child policy: Analysis of data from 2005 national intercensus survey. The BMJ, 338, 920–923.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cao, Y. (2015). From the “Vietnam brides” to the current marriageability among older men. Contemporary Research on Youth, 5, 105–109 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chen, W. (2012). On the governance of "three illegalities" of foreign females from the perspective of polycentric governance. Master dissertation of Shandong Normal University (in Chinese). Available at: https://nvsm.cnki.net/kns/brief/default_result.aspx. Accessed 2 Oct 2019.
  18. 18.
    Sun, L. (2004). Human trafficking in contemporary China. Master dissertation of East China University of Politics and Law. Available at: https://nvsm.cnki.net/kns/brief/default_result.aspx. Accessed 2 Oct 2019.
  19. 19.
    Hesketh, T., & Zhu, W. X. (2006). Abnormal sex ratios in human populations: Causes and consequences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 103, 13271–13275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sen, A. (2003). Missing women revisited. The BMJ, 327, 1297–1298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Liang, Z., Li, Z., & Ma, Z. (2014). Changing patterns of the floating population in China, 2000-2010. Population and Development Review, 40, 695–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Landolt, P., & Da, W. W. (2005). The spatially ruptured practices of migrant families: A comparison of immigrants from El Salvador and the People’s republic of China. Current Sociology, 53, 625–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Spitzer, D., Neufeld, A., Harrison, M., Hughes, K., & Stewart, M. (2003). Caregiving in transnational context. Gender & Society, 17, 267–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Teo, S. Y. (2003). Dreaming inside a walled city: Imagination, gender and the roots of immigration. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 12, 411–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Honig, E. (2000). Iron girls revisited: Gender and the politics of work in the Cultural Revolution, 1966–1976. In B. Entwisle & G. E. Henderson (Eds.), Re-drawing boundaries: Gender, households, and work in China (pp. 97–110). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stacey, J. (1983). Patriarchy and socialist revolution in China. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zuo, J., & Bian, Y. (2001). Gendered resources, division of housework, and perceived fairness: A case in urban China. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 1122–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Shu, X. (2004). Education and gender egalitarianism: The case of China. Sociology of Education, 77, 311–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tsui, M., & Rich, L. (2002). The only child and educational opportunities for girls in urban China. Gender & Society, 16, 74–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhou, L. Y., Dawson, M. L., Herr, C. L., & Stukas, S. K. (2004). American and Chinese college students’ predictions of people’s occupations, housework responsibilities, and hobbies as a function of cultural and gender influences. Sex Roles, 50, 547–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Entwisle, B., & Henderson, G. E. (Eds.). (2000). Redrawing boundaries: Gender, households, and work in China. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Zuo, J. (2003). From revolutionary comrades to gendered partners: Marital construction of breadwinning in post-Mao urban China. Journal of Family Issues, 24, 314–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Fong, V. L. (2002). China’s one-child policy and the empowerment of urban daughters. American Anthropologist, 104(4), 1098–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Guan, C. Y., & Feng, Q. (2017). Commercialized marriage and the risks of male singles in rural China in search of brides: A content analysis of reports on Vietnam brides 2010-2016. Contemporary Communication, 11, 60–66 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Zhang, S. X. (2008). Chinese human smuggling organizations—Families, social Networks, and cultural imperatives. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    People's Daily. 2004. China to balance unbalanced sex ratio. Published on July 15th, Available at http://en.people.cn/200407/15/eng20040715_149701.html. Accessed 22 Aug 2018.
  37. 37.
    Maher, L. (1997). Sexed work: Gender, race, and resistance in a Brooklyn drug market. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mullins, C. W., & Wright, R. (2003). Gender, social networks, and residential burglary. Criminology, 41, 813–840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Resindiz, R. (2001). Taking risks within the constraints of gender: Mexican-American women as professional auto thieves. The Social Science Journal, 38, 475–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Steffensmeier, D. J., & Terry, R. (1986). Institutional sexism in the underworld: A view from the inside. Sociological Inquiry, 56, 304–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wilkins, A. (2017). Gender, migration and intimate geopolitics: Shifting senses of home among women on the Myanmar-Thailand border. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 24(11), 1549–1568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hoffman, S. J., Tierney, J. D., & Robertson, C. L. (2017). Counter-narratives of coping and becoming: Karen refugee women’s inside/outside figured worlds. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography., 24(9), 1346–1364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cao, L., & Hebenton, B. (2018). Criminology in China: Taking stock (again). Criminologist, 43(2), 1–9.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    He, N., & Zhuo, Y. (2016). Criminology’s new frontier in China: Opportunities, possibilities and challenges. Crime, Law and Social Change, 66(5), 439–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Xu, J. (2013). Police accountability and the commodification of policing in China: A study of police/business posters in Guangzhou. The British Journal of Criminology, 53(6), 1093–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Criminal JusticeChina Eastern University of Political Science and LawShanghaiChina
  2. 2.School of Criminology and Justice StudiesUniversity of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA

Personalised recommendations