On the move

Shan-Tai prayer month, day 11

For many Shan people obtaining work or education means having to travel. Within Shan State and Burma this is disruptive to the social fabric and churches find that attendance fluctuates as workers arrive or depart. Even more destructive is the movement of Shan people across national borders, particularly into Thailand, seeking to escape poverty. Unfortunately many of those on the move are women, and they often end up enslaved in prostitution:

In Mae Sot too, brothels and nightclubs are dominated by Burma girls. Migrants are mainly members of ethnic groups like the Mon, Shan and Wa.

One observer says, though, that many Burma girls come to Thailand on their own accord to find better fortunes, which is why they cannot be considered trafficked. The majority of traffickers transport ‘willing’ women, he says.
Traffickers are usually native to the area, and most are women. They know the geography, the culture and the language because they have grown up in it. Many of these agents are also involved in other illegal activities, like drug and gem smuggling, and use the same trails and contacts to smuggle their human merchandise.
A 19-year-old Burma girl, working in a garment factory in Mae Sot, says: “Before I started to work here, I was brought to Myawaddy by a woman who previously knew my mother. For the first two days, we were put up stealthily in a small apartment built behind a two-storey house. The following day, while the woman was away, a middle-aged man entered my room … and told me I must have sex with him for the debt the woman owed him.” (both quotes from Two Stops Along the Economic Corridor).

Pray for:

  • The Shan to come into contact with believers as they travel  (Acts 8:35).
  • Praise God for His presence in all the world  (Psalm 139:7–8).
  • Those who hear about Jesus to believe in Him and stay strong in their faith when far away from other believers (Acts 18:26–28).
  • That Shan women trapped in prostitution will encounter Jesus and He will free both their souls and bodies from slavery (John 7:53–8:11 and  John 8:36)

Further information:

A map of Shan State