“We were very poor. When I finished 9th grade my options were either to work on the farm or work overseas to get higher pay,” said Bridget, third in the family of 7 children living in a rural village in Myanmar. The agent who was known to the family had convinced her parents that Bridget would likely earn SGD400- 500 a month working as a domestic maid in Singapore. Bridget packed her bags and left for Yangon with a cousin for the first time.
When she arrived at the agent’s apartment there were 50 girls. The wait to leave for Singapore took longer than expected. In the meantime the girls were taught English and had to clean the agent’s apartments as part of their training. They were not allowed to go out except to the market. Even though Bridget had passed the test to enable her working permit to be processed she changed her mind about going. Moreover the agent said she looked too young and had asked her to lie in the passport application that she was 23 years old. Fortunately one of the girls in the agency house managed to contact Good Shepherd convent in Yangon to help get her out of the place, avoiding to be trafficked to Singapore.
It’s been a year since the traumatic experience and Bridget has resumed her studies at the convent in Hopin. She has passed her matriculation exams and will proceed to attend the Good Shepherd vocational training centre.