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12-Jun-2017 23:12

When she refused and tried to run away the officers chased her down and cuffed her hands behind her back.Then, accompanied by a plainclothes colleague, they led her behind a parked truck and forced her to kneel on the concrete as all three men orally raped her.Just a few weeks earlier she had been serving a month in prison after her arrest under a colonial-era statute known as the “darkness law,” which gives police sweeping powers to arrest anyone they deem to be acting suspiciously.The law, a section of the Police Act enacted under British rule, carries a maximum sentence of three months and has been used across the country in recent years as part of a crackdown on the country’s LGBT community.Editors' Note: This story describes situations that could be upsetting for some readers.YANGON, Myanmar — A transgender sex worker in Myanmar's main city of Yangon was waiting for customers on a dark street one night last year when two police officers approached her and demanded she have sex with them for free.Soldiers have allegedly shot indiscriminately at unwarmed men, women and children during their intensified operations against Rohingya insurgents after three days of clashes with militants in the worst violence involving Burma's Muslim minority in five years.The fighting - triggered by coordinated attacks on Friday by insurgents wielding sticks, knives and crude bombs on 30 police posts and an army base - has killed 104 people and led to the flight of large numbers of Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist civilians from the northern part of Rakhine state.

“We only wear men’s clothes in public,” she said as she sat with her friend in the yard behind a beauty salon owned by U Thaw.

Hla Myat Tun, programs manager at Colors Rainbow, said the group also recorded 63 cases of discrimination by police and local authorities.

But he suspects this grassroots effort to collect data only covers just a small fraction of the true number of cases around the country.

U Thaw works with Colors Rainbow, a rights group that monitors cases of wrongful arrest and abuse against LGBT people.

Last year, the group recorded 65 cases of discriminatory arrests under the darkness law in just three of Myanmar's 325 administrative townships.When she arrived at the prison she was given a choice between staying in the “male” part of the prison, or in the “gay” ward, which houses about 50 prisoners from the LGBT community. Homophobia and transphobia permeate the political elites, too.