Victoria Secret ruling under fire

Victoria Secret ruling under fire

Anti-human trafficking groups yesterday petitioned Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin to look into the Department of Special Investigation's (DSI) decision to drop human trafficking charges against two key suspects arrested in connection with the raid on Victoria Secret massage parlour last year.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Network (ATN) called the DSI move "unusual" because it was the department which first recommended slapping human trafficking charges against Kampol Wirathepsuporn and Nipa Thiratrakulwattana, who allegedly owned the business and are now on the run.

Thanakrit Jit-areerat, the justice minister's secretary, yesterday accepted the petition on Mr Somsak's behalf.

Previously, the ATN -- a network consisting of 13 women's rights and child protection organisations -- lodged a petition with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking him to look into the prosecution's dropping of human trafficking charges.

Ronnasit Proeksayajiva, president of the Ronnasit Foundation and a member of the network, said the DSI's decision not to pursue human trafficking charges against the pair was strange and had aroused suspicion, so the Justice Ministry must intervene.

"The DSI agreed with the prosecution [to drop the charges] even though it recommended the charges in the first place. So, we're questioning the DSI's judgement and calling on the ministry to investigate," he said.

Following the raid on Victoria Secret massage parlour on Jan 12 last year, it was revealed that minors and migrant workers were forced to work as sex workers on the premises.

More than 80 women found there were believed to have been forced into prostitution by a human trafficking ring.

In August last year, the Criminal Court handed down jail sentences to six people involved in the prostitution of underage girls in the case, but dismissed human trafficking charges.

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