DSI hunts Thai sex traffickers

DSI hunts Thai sex traffickers

Five Thai women who were deceived into prostitution in Bahrain by Thai sex traffickers get on a police van after returning to Thailand on Friday. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)
Five Thai women who were deceived into prostitution in Bahrain by Thai sex traffickers get on a police van after returning to Thailand on Friday. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)

The Department of Special Investigation is tracking down two gangs of Thais believed to have lured 13 Thai women into the flesh trade in Bahrain.

The DSI's move came after seven of them had been rescued by Bahrain police who later sent them to the Thai embassy in Manama, Bahrain.

Pol Col Akkharapol Punyopatsatham, director of the DSI’s Anti-Human Trafficking Centre, said on Thursday that the victims had been deceived by two gangs of Thais into providing sex service in Bahrain between January and February.

Female members of a gang in Thailand had approached the victims to work in well-paid Thai massage and housework jobs in Bahrain. When the victims arrived in the Middle Eastern country, their passports had been seized by the other Thai gang in that country, said Pol Col Akkharapol.

The victims told the DSI that they had been forced into selling sex in various places. The gang kept moving them around and asked them to pay 50,000 baht each if they wanted to return to Thailand.

One of the victims managed to escape to seek help from Bahrain police, who later rescued the Thai women.

The DSI found those two Thai gangs were involved in human trafficking and would bring them to justice.

Mrs Dao, 49, mother of one of the rescued women, told the Bangkok Post on Friday that a woman, known as Joy, had gone to her house in Udon Thani province and told her she was looking for Thai women to work at a spa shop in South Korea.  

Ms Joy told her that the overseas spa job paid tens of thousands of baht a month, but those who wanted to work there had to pay 300,000 baht each in brokerage fees and travelling expenses.

The promised income attracted her 30-year-old daughter, said Mrs Dao, so the family decided to mortgage a plot for 300,000 baht to cover the expenses. 

Ms Joy had arranged the trip and later contacted her daughter to go to Suvarnabhumi airport to board a flight to South Korea. However, her daughter was instead given a ticket to Bahrain, said Mrs Dao.

The woman told her daughter that her looks did not suit the spa job in South Korea, but she was more suitable for a job in Bahrain, where incomes would be even higher.

Mrs Dao said her daughter had to go to work in Bahrain as she had already paid the brokerage fees to Ms Joy.

After flying to Bahrain, her daughter ended up in the sex trade.

Mrs Dao and her family arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday to pick up her daughter, who arrived with four other victims.

The mother of another victim said a job broker had persuaded her daughter, who was employed at a Thai traditional massage shop, to work in Bahrain with an attractive wage of 9,000 baht per hour.

Drawn by the lucrative offer, her daughter paid 250,000 baht in brokerage fees and another 50,000 baht for travelling expenses. When her daughter arrived in Bahrain, she had been forced into providing sex to many customers a day, said the mother.

Her daughter had complained to a Thai friend online and the friend had sought help from a club set up to help crime victims. The club then alerted the anti-human trafficking division, which contacted Bahrain police to rescue her daughter and other women.

Pol Col Mana Kleepsattabut, deputy superintendent at the anti-human trafficking division, said the five were among the seven women rescued from the flesh trade in Bahrain. The two others, including a female procurer, would be sent to Thailand on May 23.

Police would investigate whether all the women had voluntarily entered the sex trade or not.

The colonel said at the airport on Friday that police would invite the five women for questioning about those involved in the human trafficking racket in the Middle Eastern kingdom. The investigation would be extended to arrest those human traffickers.

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