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Apr 2, 2009 (DVB), Locals in a Chinese border town have said there could be a link between a young Burmese boy found murdered on Monday and increased incidences of child trafficking on the China-Burma border.
Nine year-old Myo Ko Ko and his younger brother went missing on 27 March after begging on the streets of Jiang Phong in China, near the border with Burma. Myo Ko Ko was found with his hands tied and fatal head wounds.
"The corpse was found by the bank of Ruili river near the bridge," said an eye-witness.
"His mother said they were collecting drinking water bottles."
Chinese authorities are questioning other children begging on the street, another resident said, adding that police believe it was fellow Burmese beggars who were responsible for the murder.
The same day the corpse was found, however, police from Muse, a town on the Burmese side of the border where Myo Ko Ko's parents live, seized two children who had been kidnapped from nearby Lashio, he said.
This has led to suspicions that Myo Ko Ko's death is also linked to trafficking.
"Now that the trafficking of adult girls is becoming harder due to intensive arrests, the sales of children are becoming very profitable," the resident said.
The director of Thailand-based Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, Aung Myo Min, said there has been an increase in child trafficking on the China-Burma border.
"This kind of thing used to be abundant on the Thai-Burma border," he said.
"But as the fight against child trafficking inside Thailand had increased [along with] an increase in protection among the public, child trafficking moved to the China-Burma border.
Aung Myo Min pointed to the deaths of tens of thousands of children during the 2008 China earthquake as perhaps being part responsible for the rise in child trafficking.
"In order to fill this gap, a new market emerged for adopting other children, some suggested, so and it needs to be dealt with seriously," he said.
"The reasons why children are stolen and trafficked these days are the lack of concise and firm prosecution, and bribe-taking among people responsible.
Chinese and Burmese officials were not available for comments.
Reporting by Naw Say Paw