Mongolia/China – Informal Marriages May Hide Trafficking
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: April 9, 2007
Thursday, 12 April 2007 By B.
THE PROTECTION of rights and a positive legal environment
for the victims of human trafficking who become illegally married to Asian men
still does not exist yet, because of a lack of information and knowledge about
human trafficking. About 20 days ago, four Mongolian women with three of their
children requested from the Mongolian consulate in Erlian, China, to save them
from the violence of their husbands.
They were married to Chinese men
when they were introduced to each other in Mongolia, but have lived in China for
over ten years now. According to reports in the Mongolian media, all of them
were living in a half-starved state, they had no right to work for wages and
weren’t even allowed to go outside. They were beaten brutally by their husbands
and had other physical pressure applied. Some of them were unwillingly forced to
have sex by their husbands. But the accused husbands are demanding the return of
their wives from the consulate.
According to the consulate, the women
are considered as Mongolian nationals according to the Mongolian Citizens’
Registration and Information Center database. Their Mongolian nationality was
not revoked and, under law, Mongolians are not allowed dual citizenship.
Moreover, their children were born in Mongolia and their surnames are given by
their mothers. This is a sufficient basis for the women to return to Mongolia,
in the opinion of the consulate. The consulate sent the statement to relevant
official agencies in China and if the two countries agree, the police of both
countries will jointly examine the case.
According to Chinese law, an
individual indulging in sex trafficking would receive a punishment of 20 years
in prison. There are also very strict prohibitions on a person prostituting him
Lack of information
But in Mongolia, there has
been just one court case related to human trafficking because victims do not
come to the police. The victims are afraid to face the police since they fear
they will be doubly punished for being part of an illegal action as well as
having a lack of information and knowledge about human trafficking.
psychological damage caused human trafficking by is not understood clearly and
everybody who lacks knowledge and information can become a victim. “All victims
of human trafficking in Mongolia are cheated by the information of the
intermediary when they first become a victim of this crime,” said B.
Ganbayasgakh, Leader of The Gender Equity Center at a seminar on the
The Gender Equity Center is the first organization to do
comprehensive research on the issue of Mongolian victims of foreign human
trafficking over the last two years. The center does local research, as well as
conducting studies and taking interviews from victims in China and Macao.
“Most of the victims of human trafficking had no awareness about what
sexual exploitation is and no information about human trafficking abroad. Also,
the victims had not studied about the country they were being sent to and they
didn’t know how they could contact the Mongolian council or where the Mongolian
embassies are located in these countries,” said Ganbayasgakh.
Mongolian women who married Koreans have suffered from sex trafficking.
According to Ganbayasgakh’s research, Mongolia’s lacks a law which protects
women from becoming a sex traffic victim and protects human rights. When women
are to be married to foreigners, they should return to Mongolia before the
wedding to explain their new life’s conditions, she proposed. Lack of positive
legal regulations for victims exposes them to have their lives
State inspectors said that the overwhelming desire of many
students to go abroad and leave Mongolia, only added to the problem of
trafficking. “We took a study from senior pupils of a secondary school asking,
‘Would you go abroad as a result of a person’s information or announcement by
the media promising help to enter a job with a high salary?’ Unfortunately, 75
percent of them said they would directly go,” said Captain B. Otgonbayar, Senior
Inspector of the State Investigation Office.
Contrasting incorrect media reports that only males run human
trafficking operations, research showed that women were more involved in the
selling process then men, seminar organizers said. “The intermediaries of human
trafficking in Mongolia are women aged 20-45 years old. They use very detailed
swindling methods to entice the girls abroad and in the some cases the parents
believe them to be honest intermediaries,” said Ganbayasgakh.
However, the problems reach far deeper into society and
law enforcement officials said the laws are far from effective. “The criminal
code in Mongolia is not strong enough for prosecuting human trafficking
intermediaries. The Supreme Court and human rights NGOs reached an agreement to
make some amendments to the criminal code and the Supreme Court should have made
an explanation for this law yesterday,” said D. Amarjargal, an officer of the
Human Rights and Development Center.
Captain Otgonbayar also
said that enforcement officials as well as judicial sector officers had a
general lack of knowledge on trafficking which made it hard for legal matters to
Seminar participants also interviewed some victims of
prostitution. “I’ve been working for this sauna for two years and I’m selling
myself voluntarily here. My work is very beneficial for me and for the director
of this sauna. Every person pays Tg8,000 for sauna and body massage. If customer
wants an additional service from us we give them what they want – of course,
that means sex,” a woman admitted on condition of anonymity. “I take half of the
income from the person whom I gave the additional service to, but I don’t take a
salary from my boss,” she added.
Captain Otgonbayar explained the laws
on prostitution, citing that some women the police investigate say they are
voluntarily partaking in these illegal activities. “Mongolia prohibits any
organization from selling a person’s body for sexual activity. But most saunas
are carrying out sexual services in secret. Most of the masseurs of the sauna
are the girls who are allowing the sale of their bodies,” he complained.
“It is a difficult issue for the police force because the process of a
restricted justice environment in Mongolia creates heavy work,” pointed out the
The young woman said her work was only temporary
until she finished her scholarly studies. “My income for a night is enough to
keep me at my university. I will stop this work when I graduate university. When
I came to Ulaanbaatar from the countryside I didn’t have a house here, but now I
don’t need to rent any houses because I live
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