Dai Wja's Story

Human trafficking is making modernday slaves out of millions of vulnerable children. Dai Wja is a young girl living in Thailand who was deceived and forced into the sex trade. This is her story.*
My name is Dai Wja. I am 16 years old. I am from a small village in southeastern Myanmar. When I was 5, my father died suddenly. With no way to feed me, my mother had to leave me with her stepparents as she searched for work across the border in Thailand.

I was just a little girl, but that didn’t stop my stepgrandparents from using me to do hard work. I spent my days toiling in the rice fields, or cooking, cleaning, drawing water, and washing clothes. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make them happy. I felt their anger every time they hit me. I suffered, alone, for seven miserable years.

Then one day my uncle from Mae Sot in Thailand invited me to live with him. That was the first time I remember feeling hope. But soon after I’d arrived at my uncle’s home, my stepgrandmother started calling to say she was coming to get me. A chill went down my spine when I heard my uncle say he was planning to take me back. I knew I had to run away.

I found a job at a food shop and began to save every bit I could. But it wasn’t much. How would I ever save enough to get back to my village someday? Then I met a woman who said she could help me. She promised me a job waitressing at a karaoke bar and said I would earn a lot of money.

On my second day, I realized something was terribly wrong. I was taken to a motel where a Chinese man was waiting for me. I told him there had been a mistake, but he wouldn’t listen. I tried to push him away from me, but he hit me. I struggled, but it was useless. He forced himself on me.

In despair, I realized I had been deceived. The karaoke bar was really a brothel. They began making me take two customers a day and paid me almost nothing. I was so young, so helpless. I didn’t know what to do.
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