THAILAND - A human trafficking gang smuggled young Lao women into Nong Khai before moving them to a traditional massage shop in Phetchaburi for sex work. They did this by disguising the young women as tour bus hostesses, Social Development and Human Security Minister Issara Somchai revealed yesterday.
A total of 11 Lao girls and young women aged from 15 to 22 were rescued after a raid on Saturday on a brothel in downtown Phetchaburi. One man and two women were also arrested.
Issara visited the victims yesterday at Baan Kredtrakan Shelter in Nonthaburi's Pak Kred district.
The minister said he was told the young women were lured by compatriots to work as waitresses in a Nong Khai restaurant. The restaurant owner allegedly taught them how to dress beautifully, how to put make-up - later billed at Bt4,000 a set - and took some girls to an eyebrow tattooist to make them look prettier.
The restaurant owner paid for these costs but later made the girls repay all expenses. They were then convinced to prostitute themselves and the restaurant owner would either take the girls in personal cars send them on tour buses, with the girls disguised as hostesses to avoid police attention.
Costly transport expenses of Bt15,000 to Bt20,000 were also charged and recorded for later collection from the women, Issara was told. At the massage shop, they were forced to provide sex services for customers at Bt510 per time, although the girls' real payment was just Bt150, while the rest went to the managers.
For those who had not repaid their supposed debts, the Bt150 payments for sex went to clear "debts" first. Thus, many didn't earn a single baht until the "debts" were paid off, he said.
All the rescued 11 women told Issara they had repaid their debts but hadn't kept the money they had earnt from sex-work. Instead they gave it to the brothel owner.
Some of the girls who had worked at the shop for eight months had given the brothel owner up to Bt50,000, Issara was told. The owner would then wire the money to the women's parents in Vientiane, while the women had to stay at the brothel at all times and weren't allowed to go outside.
Issara said all the young women told him they wanted to go home and never wanted to work as prostitutes again. He said the women would be given accommodation, three meals a day and vocational training while at the shelter, until their case went was dealt with by a court, which should take around three months. They would then be sent home.