Khaing Khaing Zan:
Local people on the western Burmese border are worried about the spread of HIV after two Burman settlers set up prostitution businesses in their homes, said an elder woman in the village.
She said, "As two Burmese settlers are prostituting widely in our villages many people are worried about the spread of HIV and AIDS infections to the people in the area."
The model village is Shwe Yin Aye, which is located on the outskirts of Maungdaw on the western Burmese border and consists of 100 households belonging to both local Arakanese and Burman settlers.
"I did not want to attack them personally but it is dangerous for all our people, Buddhist and Muslim. So I had to inform you of the situation. The two settlers - U Win Aung and U Kyaw Naing Moe - are doing prostitution in our village," she said.
Some young poor women in the village are involved in the prostitution rings run by U Win Aung and U Kyaw Naing Moe, who moved to the area from Burma proper in 2000.
Another source said that because many model village settlers in the area suffering from economic hardship and crisis due to a lack of business skills, they are now involved in the prostitution as well.
"In our village, many people, including young women, are jobless and not earning income. So the work is not only luring men but also the young women. Currently some women in our village had to become involved in the prostitution along with women from other areas. I have been worried about other innocent young women," she said.
Despite the extent of the prostitution work being run by the two model settlers there has been no action by the authorities. Some concerned authorities have been receiving regular bribes from the two settlers.
Another witness in the village said, "Many people from every corner come to our village night and day by many ways - some people come to our village by foot, some by motorbike or bicycles - to hire prostitutes. Some government officials are among them."
Prostitution is illegal and there have been no systematic education or awareness programs around safe sex and because of this, people in the area are concerned about the spread of HIV and AIDS infections among the local people.
6 months ago