Karuna Myanmar Social Services Child Protection staff will play a leading role in establishing a systematic reporting and referral system, and community-based information systems regarding abuse, exploitation, neglect and trafficked children and women.  Credit: Karuna

Karuna Myanmar Social Services Child Protection staff will play a leading role in establishing a systematic reporting and referral system, and community-based information systems regarding abuse, exploitation, neglect and trafficked children and women. Credit: Karuna

Mary Khin, social protection manager of Karuna Myanmar Social Services (Caritas Myanmar), describes how three children were saved from human traffickers who exploit people for money.

When three teenage boys in a village in Myanmar were looking for a job in late 2012, a man came forward with a plan. The man had previously worked in Yangon, the country’s capital, and sometimes came back to the village. He took the three boys to a play in another village, telling them he could find them jobs in Yangon if they left with him that night.

The children had previously attended a child protection awareness training course in their community. When the man asked them to sleep in an old shop near the road, two of the three children suspected the man was lying and doing something wrong. They ran back to their village, asking people they met on the road how to get home. The two children returned to the village safely.

The children’s families and the community facilitator went to the township police and reported the situation. The man had a criminal record regarding child labour exploitation. The police caught the man on 1 December 2012 and detained him for 20 days.

Community members began following up a case of some children the man had previously sent to Yangon for jobs. They found a fourth child in another region. They managed to talk with the owner of a shop where the child was working to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing. After 15 days, the child safely returned to the village.

Of these four children, three started earning their living: in a small grocery shop, on a vegetable farm and by selling fruit. One child is working in Yangon with a relative; the family and the community are in touch with him, know his whereabouts and regularly receive news from him.

Caritas and other organisations have fought this kind of exploitation for years, tracing trafficked children and providing them with reintegration support. Caritas’ national and diocesan offices have run community-based child protection programs since 2006.

Learn more about trafficking in Myanmar and how we’re stopping it.