” Myanmar can only cry for its people in exodus”


Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon,  has spoken about the sad reality of trafficking of people from his country, which he describes as ‘the epicentre’ of human trafficking. The Burmese Salesian Cardinal said “Myanmar as a country raised the threshold of hope in the recent past.  The dawn of democracy provoked dreams of human security.  Unfortunately, during the last year, hate speech and religious manipulation have dragged the country into a nightmare.” He added, “All these impact the protection for the vulnerable individuals from rampant human traffic.”

Noting that one of the largest forced migration in the recent history took place from Myanmar, the Cardinal said: “As we approach lent, Myanmar can only cry over our people in Exodus and the unending way of the cross of millions – migrants, refugees and IDPs.”

The Cardinal discussed the findings of the Trafficking in Persons Report (2017) which identifies Myanmar as a country of concern and demonstrates his people’s suffering. Economic and political upheaval and continued conflicts have contributed to this situation, Bo states, and unskilled and under-educated  men and women end up as modern slaves “in economic tigers” of the South East.

Our people, the Cardinal decried, are subjected to sex trafficking or forced labour in fishing, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, and construction abroad. “Burmese women,” he lamented, “are increasingly transported to China and subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude through forced marriages to Chinese men.”

 “Some Burmese men in the Thai fishing industry are subjected to debt bondage, passport confiscation, threats of physical or financial harm, or fraudulent recruitment; some are also subjected to physical abuse and forced to remain aboard vessels in international waters for years.”

The Cardinal fears that escalating conflicts which will add to the number of displaced people will only increase the chances of more trafficking: “Without durable peace and an inclusive economy, Myanmar faces the grim prospects of uncontrolled displacement.”


ACN Malta