Police have rescued six teenagers in Chumphon who were allegedly lured by a retired school principal to be trafficked to Phuket.
On Tuesday, Lamae district police in Chumphon got a call from one of the victims who said she had been lured from Nakhon Ratchasima to go to Phuket.
She managed to make her call after asking the driver to stop at a petrol station in Lamae district so she could use the toilet where she was able to use her phone to contact police.
When officers inspected the area, they found the van with six minors and teenagers and the 63-year-old driver. The victims included three 19-year-old women, one 17-year-old girl and two 14-year-old girls.
The driver said he was hired by a woman named Aon in Phuket to pick up her six relatives in Nakhon Ratchasima's Mueang district and Sikhio district on Tuesday and to deliver them to Phuket.
During the investigation, one parent of a victim reported to officers of Sikhio police station that her daughter and two friends were missing.
Pol Col Yongyot Paladech, superintendent of Sikhio police, said that after a three-hour interrogation, the driver said he did not know where the woman in Phuket planned to take the girls. The driver said he also did not know the ages of his passengers.
The driver has been charged with taking minors aged under 15 from their parents. It is unclear who contacted the victims initially or what the traffickers' plans were for them.
He is said to be an ex-school principal from Non Sung district who worked as a van driver after retirement. The teenagers were sent home to Nakhon Ratchasima.