21 Thai women freed in Oman raid

21 Thai women freed in Oman raid

The sign at the airport said 'Welcome' but for the 21 Thais rescued from a sex-trafficking ring in Muscat, the reality was quite different.
The sign at the airport said 'Welcome' but for the 21 Thais rescued from a sex-trafficking ring in Muscat, the reality was quite different.

Twenty-one Thai women who were forced into the flesh trade in Oman were rescued during a raid in Muscat.

Speaking during a police press briefing at Don Mueang airport yesterday, Immigration Police Bureau (IPB) commissioner Nathathorn Prousoontorn said the women, forced to work as prostitutes, were rescued during the crackdown on a sex trafficking ring in Muscat. The date of the raid was not given.

Three Thai women, Supanan Yingpimai, 29; Natthanicha Kongprasert, 36; and Palida Kleabbua, 26, have been detained for their suspected involvement in the ring, while two male suspects, identifed only as Omar and Nuad, are at large.

Ms Supanan and Ms Natthanicha, accused of detaining the women against their will in Oman, were arrested during the raid. Ms Palida, who allegedly acted as a buyer of women for prostitution, was apprehended in Min Buri district on Sept 15.

Human trafficking charges have been pressed against the three women, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said.

The raid came after Thai authorities were tipped off last month by three Thai women who earlier escaped from the sex trade in Muscat and returned to Thailand with help from the Thai embassy. The three later lodged police complaints against the five suspects.

The IPB informed the Omani authorities about the case. A joint force of over 100 Thai and Omani authorities launched the raid at two adjacent apartments in Muscat and rescued the 21 women.

The women had been lured into the flesh trade via communication through a Facebook page titled "Pattaya find job+job application", promising victims jobs as masseuses in spas in Muscat, Immigration Division 2 chief Thatchai Pitaneelabutr said.

The suspects also convinced victims they would receive a salary of 100,000 baht a month and offered to pay travel expenses.

After applying via the Facebook page, a Facebook user, Ayesha Rani, contacted victims and told them to contact Ms Palida, who they were told would meet them at Don Mueang airport with air tickets to Oman.

However, after arriving in Oman, all victims' passports were seized and their communication cut off. They were soon forced into prostitution, working long hours.


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