Cops ready to aid Germans after vice bust

Cops ready to aid Germans after vice bust

32 Thai victims will 'unlikely be charged'

A group of 40 women showed up at the Anti-Human Trafficking Division Thursday to lodge complaints about job placement fraud which they claim cost them a total of 1 million baht. They told police they paid 20,000-30,000 baht each to land jobs as masseuses at a hotel in the Maldives but were scammed. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
A group of 40 women showed up at the Anti-Human Trafficking Division Thursday to lodge complaints about job placement fraud which they claim cost them a total of 1 million baht. They told police they paid 20,000-30,000 baht each to land jobs as masseuses at a hotel in the Maldives but were scammed. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) are considering whether to send officers to Germany to work with German authorities investigating a human trafficking case in which seven people, including a Thai woman, were arrested for allegedly forcing Thai women and transsexuals into prostitution, a senior officer said.

At least 32 Thai women and transsexuals were believed to have been trafficked to Germany by the gang and forced to work in brothels to pay off smuggling fees.

The masterminds were said to be a 59-year-old Thai national and her 62-year-old German partner.

The seven were arrested during the raids on 62 locations across Germany on Wednesday.

Police adviser Thammasak Witcharaya, who is also the chairman of its anti-human trafficking subcommittee, said Thursday that Thai police are in the process of verifying the report. If the report is true, police will lay out plans to work with their German colleagues, Pol Gen Thammasak said.

Thai and German police have often shared information about human trafficking, and cooperation has been good, he said.

"Thai authorities still have no information or details about the case," said Pol Gen Thammasak, noting that police here were still waiting for official information about the case from German authorities.

If the offences are found to have taken place in Germany, prosecution of the suspects will be carried out there first, he said.

Deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said those trafficked to work as prostitutes in Germany were unlikely to face criminal charges, but there was the remote possibility of being found guilty of working without a permit, as prostitution is not illegal in that country.

The government has instructed the police's Foreign Affairs Division and Anti Trafficking in Persons Division to gather information with other agencies, including the Foreign Ministry, about the case, he said.

Pol Gen Srivara said officers were instructed to investigate and examine all information there was to hand, he said.

Investigators are also waiting for people who may have fallen prey to the gang in the past to file complaints, according to the deputy police chief.

Deputy police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen said the division was told by German officials that they could not yet reveal information about the case as the investigation was ongoing.

The division will remain in close contact with German authorities about the case and any updates will be made public immediately, he said. If the case is found to involve transnational crime, Thai police are ready to exchange information with German authorities and widen the probe, Pol Col Kritsana said.

According to the deputy spokesman, police chief Chakthip Chaijinda is committed to strictly following through on the government's policy to stamp out human trafficking.

Working with foreign agencies is a key factor in dealing with the problem since many Thais were found to have fallen prey to networks supplying prostitutes overseas, he noted.


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