Akha Journal: Akha case in Singapore a Disgrace, UNESCO
By Matthew McDaniel
April 24, 2007
A number of top cases.
First, Amue Athu's case got to the Supreme Court in Singapore, but that is where reason for celebration stopped. The immigration officer, Ms. Rosalinda of Singapore ICA, stated that after Amue was made to sign the paper, that she added the words, "I plead guilty, I ask for leniency." The ICA also made her sign a paper that said her real name was NOT Amue Athu. As long as Amue can't read, it apparently does not matter what she is made to sign.
The case against Amue was not thrown out based on these incredible events.
Further, despite the fact that Amue cannot read, and could not speak Thai at the time, ICA insisted that she could, with no proof of such.
While UNESCO and others QUIETLY state that Amue is a victim of human trafficking, this is ignored in the court.
Thai press says she was rescued from a brothel in Singapore (it was in Hatyai, Thailand ).
The Singapore press constantly refers to Amue as a "Thai Prostitute." I have written a number of these ignorant journalists with no explanation coming back as to what is the reason they walk all over Amue and completely distort this story for their own means?
We can see from this case the abyss in which these women live.
The US Embassy in both Bangkok and Singapore took no action on behalf of Amue's case. So much for combatting trafficking and standing up for victims of the crime.
It is with grave concern that we view the fact that ICA in Singapore is free to do what they will and is not held accountable.
Amue's case is just one of many many Akha women who are trafficked within Thailand and the region. But the performance of the NGO's and people with power to make a difference, is nothing less than a shameful disgrace.
At this time it is not known if Amue will be deported. She will have to serve her sentence for another six weeks.
None of the anti trafficking NGO's came to be with her in the court, neither from Singapore nor Thailand.
We do not consider this justice, and it is a striking example of what is wrong with the system.
As well, we note that no one from the Christian organizations which also receive funding to fight trafficking, got involved. As well, they are always talking that they take Akha children away from their families to prevent them from ending up in prostitution. But when they have the chance to come to the aid of a victim of trafficking, they are silent, it would put a strain on their budgets spent building new churches, new mission compounds and buying new SUV's.