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Eighteen sex workers produced in Maungdaw court

Eighteen sex workers were produced by police on Friday in the Maungdaw court in western Burma. They were charged with anti-social activities a week....

Eighteen sex workers were produced by police on Friday in the Maungdaw court in western Burma. They were charged with anti-social activities a week after their arrest, said a police source.

The 18 sex workers were arrested last week from several villages in Maungdaw Township, including a model village, where they were servicing Burmese Army personnel, who are in the area for construction of the border fence.

"They were staying in model villages during the day, and at night they went to army outposts along the border to serve army officials who have come to the area to construct the border fence," the source said.

Among the 18 are 12 Arakanese women from Minbya, Kyauktaw, and Mrauk U, while the rest are Burman and Muslim women from nearby villages. All the women are 18 to 20 years old.

"Police arrested only 18 women but many other sex workers managed to escape during the raid. Police conducted a raid when they received information about anti-social activities by some women in Maungdaw Township," the source added.

The women will face trial next week but do not have lawyers to advocate for them in court, sources say.

A government clerk from Maungdaw said, "Now many young women from several areas in Arakan State are involved in the sex trade in our township due to the economic crisis in our state. Maungdaw is a border town and the business in the township is a little better than other areas in Arakan. So, young women around Arakan come to our town to work as sex workers."

According to a local source, the economic crisis in Arakan has caused severe hardship, and many young women have been forced to work in the sex trade for lack of any other means of survival.