A district court in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon charged six members of a family of tailors on Thursday with enslaving and abusing two teenage girls who worked for them as maids in a case that has prompted widespread public outrage at the girls’ treatment.
Ma San Kay Khaing, 17, and Ma Tha Zin, 16, endured five years of brutal physical abuse by the owners of the Ava tailor shop for whom they worked in Yangon’s Kyauktada township, later accusing the shop’s owner and family members of stabbing them with scissors and knives and burning them with an iron, according to local media reports.
Held for the last eight months in Yangon’s Insein Prison, Tin Thuzar, Tin Min Latt, Su Mon Latt, and Yarzar Tun have now been charged in Yangon’s West District Court under Myanmar’s anti-trafficking and child protection laws and for assault under the country’s penal code.
Ko Ko Latt and Thiri Latt were also charged under the anti-trafficking law and child law but were not accused of assault, their lawyer told reporters after today’s court hearing.
“We, the lawyers for the accused, would like to say that the charges against Thiri Latt and Ko Ko Latt should be dropped because they didn’t abuse the maids personally, though they didn’t prevent other family members from abusing them,” he said.
“We will consult with our clients and then file an appeal with the Yangon divisional court,” he said.
The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for June 8, and some witnesses who have already appeared in earlier hearings will be called again to testify, he said.
Today’s charges follow the sentencing last week in Myanmar of the owner of a food catering service 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.
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.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Richard Finney.