In December 2013, Ma Htet Htet started working in the actress Thiri Ko Ko Naing’s house in Yangon for 25,000 kyats ($25 USD) per month. During her time in the house, she suffered numerous instances of torture.
In December 2013, Ma Htet Htet started working in the actress Thiri Ko Ko Naing’s house in Yangon for 25,000 kyats ($25 USD) per month. During her time in the house, she suffered numerous instances of torture. Her hands were put in hot oil when she overcooked pork curry by mistake, permanently disabling her right hand. Kyi Hla Myint, the actress’s husband, punched her in the face because the couple believed Ma Htet Htet had let their dog die from neglect. The couple beat her with a stick, hit her head, stabbed her with scissors, and cut her hands with pliers. After four months of work, her body was covered with bruises.
Although Ma Htet Htet was suffering from such serious injuries, her employers did not take her to a hospital. When the bruises that covered her body worsened, they sent her to Pathein Township, where the actress’s father lives, in order to avoid local suspicion. The father, U Ko Ko Naing, who is an Authority Officer of Ayeyarwady Regional Port, sent the child to La Min Private Clinic, but the clinic did not examine her because they believed her injuries were the result of a crime. They suggested sending her to Pathein General Hospital where she was eventually admitted to No.7 Ward, on 26 March 2014. The perpetrators did not contact the girl’s family and the hospital did not inform the police, despite the seriousness of her injuries.
The hospital and the perpetrators kept the crime secret for days, but a Buddhist monk and the Myanmar Cultural Impact Studies Club eventually discovered what had happened to the girl, contacted her family and offered to help. Ma Htet Htet’s mother lodged a complaint in Pathein No. 2 Police Station against Thiri Ko Ko Naing and her husband for torturing her child. The police filed a case under Penal Code Section 326/325 (grievous injury): case No.51/2014, No.2 Pathein Police Station. However, they then transferred the case to Bahan Township where the perpetrators live. It has been 5 months since the case was transferred to Bahan Township Police Station. The child is still suffering from the damage inflicted by the torture but that her family can’t afford regular hospital visits. The girl is still afraid of people because of the incident. The victim still requires treatment, while perpetrators have not been arrested or prosecuted.
A similar case occurred in Bago Township; Daw Phyu Win Thet, wife of a Bago Sub-Township Judge, tortured 15-year-old domestic helper Ma Aye Yu Aung with a hot iron. Due to the permanent physical and mental damage, the victim’s family lodged a complaint against the woman. However, the perpetrator is still free and has never faced trial because the police have not taken action.
Myanmar has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1999 but still does not offer sufficient protection to the children.