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In 1948, Burma obtained independance from the United Kingdom. The Republic of The Union of Myanmar was born. But after 60 years of military dictatorship, this union is now only sounds like an empty shell. The civil war between the junta and various ethnic groups has forced millions of people across the country and into neighboring Thailand. There are today approximately 1.5 million Burmese in Thailand. Uprooted, often uneducated and unable to speak thai, they provide for an easy workforce in factories, the building industry or farming. Absence of rights leads them to a high risk of extortion, manipulation and is an open door for human trafficking. Young women are the main victims of this system. Many of them are isolated and fall into debt servitude or prostitution. Since 2010, tensions have decreased and a cease-fire is about to be signed between militias and the army. The government shows signs of political opening, among which calls for refugees to return. But the million of displaced living on the Thai side of the border fear a return of the dictatorship, and many of them, exploited for years and afraid of the war, can’t even afford this return. To document the life of these people, I chose to work in and around Mae Sot, the closest Thai city from the border. Also known as « Little Burma », this town concentrates the biggest Burmese community of Thailand.
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