BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A study released Thursday by Johns Hopkins estimates there are over 7,400 women in forced marriages in four districts in Myanmar and one Chinese Prefecture.
Research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand reported that thousands of women and girls being trafficked from Myanmar to China where they are forced to marry and have children.
The research for the report, “Estimating trafficking of Myanmar women for forced marriage and childbearing in China,” was done between June 2017 and April 2018 in Kachin State and Northern Shan State in Myanmar, and Yunnan Province in China.
Researchers conducted household surveys of a total of 400 women over the age of 18 in 40 sites in Myanmar and China.
Community-based estimates of the population of migrant women were used alongside findings from household surveys to estimate the number of victims of forced marriage, forced childbearing and trafficking in the study sites and “to make extrapolations to larger areas in Kachin State and Northern Shan State in Myanmar, and in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Prefecture in Yunnan Province.”
Nearly 40 percent of women reported being forced into marriage in the districts examined in the report. Roughly 65 percent of the women in forced marriages entered the arrangement through a recruiter or broker and one-third of the women interviewed had children while in a forced marriage to a Chinese man.
The study also found that victims of forced marriage suffered an increased risk for multiple health problems. Women and girls in forced marriages were 6.5 times more likely to experience violence from their partner compared to women in non-forced marriages.
Researchers also found that women were 4.7 times more likely to suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth, and 4.6 more likely to suffer the death of at least one child.
The findings also highlighted the issue of mothers being forced to bear a child and feeling that they were unable to leave the marriage regardless of how badly they were being treated by their husbands.
Several recommendations from the report seek to reduce forced marriages in the region.