Forced labour in Bilin Township


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Forced labour in Bilin Township

Published date:
Thursday, May 31, 2012

During April 2012, residents of four village tracts in Bilin Township faced demands from Tatmadaw LID #44 for building materials, including 5,000 bamboo poles and more than 20,000 thatch shingles, as well as for service as set tha[1] messengers. Villagers responded to demands for building materials by providing less than the amount ordered and, in at least one case, by confronting armed soldiers and requesting payment, which was denied. The use of villagers to perform unpaid set tha messenger service at the Tatmadaw LID #44 camp in Lay Kay was ongoing as of April 30th 2012.


[1] Set tha is a Burmese term for forced labour duty as a messenger stationed at army camps or bases and serving as a go-between to deliver orders from army officers to village heads, but also involving other menial tasks when no messages are in need of delivery.

[2] P'Ya Raw, Lay Kay, Hkaw Poh Pleh, and Thu K'Bee are the larger villages within their respective village tracts of the same name; Ler Poh is a smaller village situated in P'Ya Raw village tract.

[3] The amounts given in the table reflect the most conservative estimates, based on figures provided by a community member.