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Work force: Experiences of women migrants from Burma in Ruili, China (English)

Work force: Experiences of women migrants from Burma in Ruili, China (English)

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Published by Jutta Pflueg
february 2012-forgotten work force-Women Migrants,Ruili,China- Executive Summary: "Burma’s continuing political repression and economic deterioration, coupled with China’s rapid growth, have caused a new phenomenon over the past few years: large-scale northward migration from Burma to China. The Yunnanese border town of Ruili (called Shweli in Burmese) has seen an estimated tenfold increase in the number of migrants from Burma since 2006, with numbers now exceeding 100,000. Formerly mainly employed in the jade, transport and sex industries, migrants are now working in a range of sectors, including domestic work, restaurants and hotels, sales, construction and manufacturing industries. Migrants are arriving from all parts of central and eastern Burma, particularly from the central dry zone, where continuing drought has deprived farmers of their traditional livelihoods.
february 2012-forgotten work force-Women Migrants,Ruili,China- Executive Summary: "Burma’s continuing political repression and economic deterioration, coupled with China’s rapid growth, have caused a new phenomenon over the past few years: large-scale northward migration from Burma to China. The Yunnanese border town of Ruili (called Shweli in Burmese) has seen an estimated tenfold increase in the number of migrants from Burma since 2006, with numbers now exceeding 100,000. Formerly mainly employed in the jade, transport and sex industries, migrants are now working in a range of sectors, including domestic work, restaurants and hotels, sales, construction and manufacturing industries. Migrants are arriving from all parts of central and eastern Burma, particularly from the central dry zone, where continuing drought has deprived farmers of their traditional livelihoods.

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Published by: Jutta Pflueg on Feb 25, 2012
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ForgottenWorkforce
 
Experiences of women migrants from Burma in Ruili, China
 
Burmese Women’s Union (BWU)
Published by
Burmese Women’s Union2012On January 7 1995, a group of young female students left Burma for the Thai-Burmaborder after the military’s brutal crack-down on the popular uprising formed theBurmese Women's Union (BWU) to work for the rights of women, to increase women'sparticipation in the Burmese political arena with special focus on women to becomedecision makers.We are an independent association aiming to unite and empower the women ofBurma, both along the Thailand, India and China borders and internationally.Membership with BWU is open to all women of Burma regardless of ethnicity, race,religion, marital status, sexual preference, or livelihood. Part of our mission is torespond to the social welfare needs of its members and provide short and long- termeducational and vocational training programs for women. We send our representativesto regional and international forums and conferences to highlight the situation ofwomen in Burma as well as to gain international advocacy skills and establish anetwork of international and regional women's organizations. BWU is one of thefounders of Women’s League of Burma (WLB).
Aims and Objectives
•
To promote the role of women in Burma
•Toefcientlyincreasethecontributionofwomeninthestrugglefordemocracy,
human rights and establishment of a genuine democratic federal union
•
To advocate for the acceptance and exercise of women’s rights in Burmesesociety according to standards recognized internationally
•
To use women's capacity to establish stable peace and long term developmentin future society in Burma
Mission
BWUexiststopromotetheroleofwomeninBurmaandtoefcientlyincreasewomen's
contributions to the political and social leadership functions in the struggle fordemocracy and human rights and the establishment of a genuine democratic federalunion.
2
Forgotten Workforce
 
Executive Summary ........................................................................................... 5Introduction ......................................................................................................... 7
 
BWU China border programme ................................................................... 7 
Methodology ................................................................................................ 8
Background......................................................................................................... 10
 
Burma-China relations: increased trade and investment, unequal growth .. 10 
Ruili: an expanding border metropolis ......................................................... 12
Research ndings:
............................................................................................. 14
 
Increased migration to Ruili ......................................................................... 14
Push factors ........................................................................................................ 15
Growing drought crisis in Burma’s ‘dry zone’............................................... 15 
Falling prices of agricultural goods .............................................................. 16 
Few job opportunities and low wages.......................................................... 16 
Cyclone Nargis and political instability ........................................................ 17 
Box: Drug use and alcoholism ..................................................................... 18
Pull factors: higher wages, proximity and contacts
....................................... 19Forced marriage ................................................................................................. 19
 
Box: A forced bride tells her story ................................................................ 20
Working in Ruili: Migrant women’s work experience
 ...................................... 24
 
Employment options in and around Ruili ..................................................... 24 
Factory and workshop labour ...................................................................... 25 
Sales............................................................................................................ 26 
Domestic work ............................................................................................. 27 
Restaurant work .......................................................................................... 28
Traditional massage .................................................................................... 28 
Construction work ........................................................................................ 29 
Jade trading ................................................................................................. 29 
Sex work ...................................................................................................... 30
Contents
Forgotten Workforce 
3 

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