Tue, September 28, 2021

in-focus

‘Tradition’ of victimisation


LOCAL OFFICIALS have a tradition of procuring underage girls to satisfy visiting senior officials’ sexual fantasies, an anti-human trafficking group said yesterday.

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“This tradition has existed for a really long time already in the provinces,” said Ronnasit Proeksayajiva, chief investigator at Nvader, an NGO that investigates and combats human trafficking.
He said some victims were younger than 10 years of age and the youngest victim Nvader had rescued was an eight-year-old Cambodian.
“Some local officials have procured girls to please their bosses. Some have done so because they are sexual-service agents,” Ronnasit said.
He said it was not difficult to gather information on prostitution rings as even hotel bellboys, for example, had information on such practices.
“The problem of child prostitution has existed across various sectors in Thailand, not just among civil servants,” he said.
For example, a prominent sportsman had sought child prostitutes wherever he went, Ronnasit said without elaborating about his identity.
Ronnasit spoke up in the wake of a scandal that suggested several officials might have bought sexual services from minors.
Girls are often coerced into the sex trade as they are lured into |trying drugs, with activities recorded on camera, and then blackmailed.
“In fact, laws don’t punish drug-takers but children do not know about this. They are afraid and end up being victimised,” Ronnasit said.
His information echoed what a mother from Mae Hong Son province told police. She said her underage daughter got involved in the sex trade after she was videotaped taking drugs and then blackmailed.
The complaint from the mother has exposed a child-prostitution ring in Mae Hong Son, causing a scandal involving several officials.
Ronnasit said it was extremely sad that such a culture existed not just among civil servants but also company employees.
“We need to change the attitudes. We need to promote the conscience,” he said.
The Centre for Girls, which works to protect girls in the border province of Chiang Rai, has disclosed that many schoolgirls entered the sex trade at the encouragement of friends.
“We are now trying to educate girls to boost their immunity against the risks of being dragged into the flesh trade. We have gone to restaurants to educate ethnic girls who work there so that they know how they can protect themselves,” the centre’s coordinator, Natnaree Luangmoi, said.
She added that her centre had also provided help to girls who wished to stop sex work.
Natnaree said that with officials involved in child prostitution, it was difficult to expect that the problem would ever end.
The Foundation for Women director Usa Lertsrisantad said she had been trying to help women and girls deal with various kinds of problems, including forced prostitution, for 30 years.
“With child prostitution existing for the past three decades, it is clear that the culture of procuring girls for bosses’ sexual desire still rages on. The government should do something about this,” she said.

 

Published : April 27, 2017

By : Chularat Saengpassa The Nation