Myanmar casino 'sex hostages' swim to salvation

Myanmar casino 'sex hostages' swim to salvation

Ekapop Lueangprasert, left, and his team are seen with a Thai national who said she was a sex trafficking victim in Myanmar at the Royal Thai Police. Police photo
Ekapop Lueangprasert, left, and his team are seen with a Thai national who said she was a sex trafficking victim in Myanmar at the Royal Thai Police. Police photo

About 300 Thai women have been forced into prostitution at a casino near the Thai-Myanmar border adjacent to Tak province, according to a 25-year-old woman who managed to escape.

She is one of two Thai women who said they were allegedly duped into performing paid sex services in Myanmar's Myawaddy. They swam the Moei River to return to Thailand on the Mae Sot side in Tak.

The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, arrived at the Royal Thai Police Office yesterday to file her complaint. She said early this year a net idol held a live broadcast online and invited women to apply for public relations and entertainment jobs in the border area of the neighbouring country. The net celebrity reportedly insisted the jobs had nothing to do with sexual services.

The woman accepted the invitation but when she arrived at the casino, its staff told her that unless she worked as a prostitute she would have to pay a ransom of 25,000 baht.

The woman said about 300 Thai women are trapped there in similar circumstances.

Accompanying the woman was Ekapop Lueangprasert, who founded an emergency response webpage called Sai Mai Tong Rod (Sai Mai District Must Survive) -- also known as the Survive network -- said that early this month, a woman had contacted him for help.

His page received her urgent texts for rescue, and she gave her location as being about 400 metres from the Thai-Myanmar border just across from Mae Sot. She made an escape plan during a shift change of guards and asked the webpage admin to pick her up at an appointed time.

On Tuesday, she and another Thai woman escaped from the casino late at night and shouted for help as they approached the border with Myanmar soldiers in hot pursuit. Thai soldiers urged them to swim across the river, Mr Ekapop said. Thai soldiers and his team were there to receive them.

Police will question the woman before taking further action.



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