KANCHANABURI: A woman has been charged with human trafficking for procuring girls aged under 18 into prostitution following a raid on the karaoke bar she owns in Muang district.
Police said they would also take action against customers who bought sex from the girls.
A team of police officers from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) arrested Somsong Kesamoon, 66, at the Nong Taengmo karaoke bar in tambon Nong Bua on Friday.
The raid followed a tip from a police informant that girls aged under 18 had been brought to the nightspot to provide sex services to customers. A police investigation confirmed the report and an arrest warrant was obtained from the Criminal Court.
Four girls, aged between 16 and 17, were rescued and are being treated as victims of human trafficking.
The girls told police that Ms Somsong had hired them to entertain customers by serving them alcoholic drinks. She also encouraged the girls to introduce themselves to customers and offer sex services, they said. The service fees were 1,300 to 1,700 baht, and the bar kept 200 baht.
Police question owner Somsong Kesamoon at the Nong Taengmo karaoke bar after her arrest. (Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen)
During questioning, Ms Somsong denied the charges, but admitted to being the owner of the bar and hiring the four underage girls to work there. However, she claimed that she had failed to check their ID cards.
Police said they had obtained firm evidence to press human trafficking charges against the woman.
According to ATPD police, Ms Somsong also faced three more arrest warrants on the same charges.
The investigators said the extended investigation showed that the four girls could remember many customers buying sex from them. The officers plan to bring those customers to task.