As published with Democratic Voice of Burma. View original here.
Propped up by a set of brass coils encircling her neck, Mapaung’s head turns stiffly to survey the deserted village of Kayan Tharyar. Beyond the mountains in the background lies her homeland – Burma.
It’s another quiet day in the village. No more than five years ago, hordes of tourists would flock in by the busload to gawk at the women who live here, take photos and, with any luck, buy some souvenirs.
But now, amid continuing campaigns by human rights organisations and ethical tourism agencies to ‘Stop the Human Zoo’ in northwestern Thailand, the steady stream of visitors has dried up. And so has their money.