Local people on the western Burma border are worried about the spread of HIV after two Burman settlers set up prostitution networks in their homes, said an elderly woman in the village.
“As two Burmese settlers are into the prostitution bussiness in our villages many people are worried about the spread of HIV and AIDS infection to people in the area,” she said.
The model village is Shwe Yin Aye, located on the outskirts of Maungdaw on the western Burma border and comprises 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, Buddhists and Muslims. So I had to inform you of the situation. The two settlers – U Win Aung and U Kyaw Naing Moe – are into prostitution business 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 suffer economic hardship and crisis due to a lack of business skills, they are now involved in prostitution.
“In our village, many people, including young women, are jobless with no income. So the work is not only luring men but also young women. Currently some women in our village had to become involved in prostitution along with women from other areas. I have been worried about other innocent young women,” she said.Despite the extent of the prostitution network being run by the two model settlers there has been no action by the authorities. Some officials have been receiving regular bribes from the two settlers.
Another eyewitness in the village said, “Many people from every corner come to our village night and day in many ways – some people come to our village by foot, some by motorbikes or bicycles – to hire prostitutes. Some government officials are among them.”
Prostitution is illegal and there have been no systematic education or awareness programmes about safe sex and because of this, people in the area are concerned about the spread of HIV and AIDS infection among the local people.