A court in southeastern Myanmar’s Mon state sentenced the owner of a food catering service on Thursday to a seven-year prison term for scalding and beating a teenage girl who worked as a waitress for the caterer and as a helper in the woman’s home.
It was the second high-profile case of worker abuse to be reported in Myanmar in recent months.
Aye Aye Soe, who worked as a contractor providing food to Mawlawmyine University in Mon state’s capital city, was convicted of causing “grievous hurt” in the case in which she was charged with torturing a 14-year-old girl whom she had accused of stealing oranges.
“Aye Aye Soe was sentenced to seven years in prison under Sections 326 and 323 of the penal code for voluntarily using dangerous weapons to cause grievous hurt,” state prosecutor Yin Min San told RFA’s Myanmar Service in an interview.
In the case reported by the girl’s aunt to authorities at the end of December 2016, Aye Aye Soe had tortured 14-year-old Khin Khin Tun by pouring flasks of boiling water over her back and striking her in the head with a stick, the young girl said in a Feb. 15, 2017, report by Agence France-Press.
“When I shouted I was burning, she beat me around the head. There was a lot of blood,” Khin Khin Tun told AFP.
Sent three years before by her father to work as a domestic servant to help pay family medical bills, Khin Khin Tun and a younger sister were rescued by a local NGO after she was found recovering from her burns in a hospital, AFP said.
Khin Khin Tun’s aunt then reported the abuse to local police on Dec. 27.
The case comes just months after two teenage maids were found to have been tortured by their employers in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon, prompting public outrage at their treatment and at what many called an improper response by the country’s human rights commission.
Ma San Kay Khaing, 17, and Ma Tha Zin, 16, endured five years of physical abuse by a prominent family of tailors for whom they worked as maids in Yangon’s Kyauktada township, suffering stabbings with scissors and knives and burns with an iron.
The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, which accepted the girls’ case on Sept. 15, 2016, then negotiated a monetary settlement with the alleged abusers instead of taking legal action against them, according to local media reports.
Reported by Kyaw Lwin Woo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Richard Finney.