Ethnic Kachin refugees from Burma, Ahmin Lahpai, 29, pictured with her husband, Naw Ja, outside their apartment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I lived in Gang Dau Yang village and I was a teacher in a nursery school. My mother was very ill so I went to see her but on the way to her village we ran into the Burmese soldiers. A war had started between the Burmese military and the KIA [Kachin Independence Army] and everyone was suspected of being involved so they arrested us without any questions. Three of us were detained in a military camp. I thought we would be porters but when I arrived the officer tried to hug me, that's when I knew they wanted to rape me. That night the officer and two soldiers came and tried to grab me. They approached and straight away grabbed my hand and I struggled, I got really scared and started to shout, I didn't want that kind of thing to happen to me, I was so afraid.
I ran into the forest and hid for a long time then went to a nearby village. The gun battles were on the other side of the camp so I could escape from the village by boat. I stayed with a friend for one week, my friend contacted an agent [trafficker] to arrange for me to leave the country. I met the agent and traveled by train to the border with ten other people, then in Thailand we traveled in different cars. We only paid a small amount but we promised the agent that we would get a job in Kuala Lumpur and pay him.
My husband had already fled to Kuala Lumpur to escape the military. I always felt a longing sorrow for him because I couldn't go there. I remember in 2009 not knowing what had happened to him and then I found out through an agent that my husband was in Kuala Lumpur. I felt like he could be dead because I felt like my heart was dying, it was hard to survive. When I heard his voice again I was really happy, I felt joy and happiness and peace in my heart. I thanked God I met him again. I cannot express the feeling when I saw him again. When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur