Forced Labour

Forced Labour

This abuse is defined as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not freely volunteered. Forced labour was mandated by law in Burma beginning in the colonial era. Though currently illegal in Myanmar, forced labour remains a regular practice. Villagers are required to do everything from cooking meals, build and repair roads, provide building materials, and grow certain crops all for the benefit of local ethnic armed groups. Forced labour includes the use of convict porters and can include instances where civilians are also used as human shields. Forced labour often accompanies other abuses including threats of violence, land confiscation, arbitrary taxation, attacks on civilians, and sexual violence. Villagers have developed ways to respond to forced labour demands, including refusing to comply with an order or negotiating the terms of compliance, hiding goods that might prompt an order, misrepresenting the number of households or villagers, and even provide funds in lieu of compliance.

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