By Kornkamol Aksondaj
TWO middle-aged women have been detained on charges of procuring women to work as prostitutes in Bahrain, police said yesterday.
Thanit Preechalert, 48, and Suparat Prabkonchua, 45, were wanted under arrest warrants issued on May 22 for allegedly violating the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, Suppression of Participation in Transnational Networked Criminal Organisation Act and Labour Protection Act, police and officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Office and other agencies said at a press conference.
These offences carry a jail term of up to 15 years but if victims were trafficked overseas, the maximum sentence would be multiplied two and a half times.
Pol Maj General Kornchai Klaiklung said the mother of one of the victims had filed a complaint with police that her 30-year-old daughter Pimpa (not her real name) was kidnapped and forced to service men at many hotels in Bahrain’s capital Manama.
Police alerted the Thai Embassy there. Embassy officials and Bahrain police then rescued ‘Pimpa’ and five others who were forced to sell sex in Bahrain. They were brought back to Thailand on May 20.
The six women told police that Thanit had procured them to go to Manama where they were forced into the flesh trade, while Suparat lured them to meet Thanit.
Thanit was taken into custody upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Saturday while Suparat was nabbed in Udon Thani’s Nam Som district.
Kornchai said such human-trafficking gangs normally include women who claim to have work experience abroad.
They told women that by working overseas for just one month they could pay off all their debts and showed pictures of their “good life abroad”.
Thanit said she earned a living from selling food and only knew that the place the women were sent to was a massage parlour.
She said she did not know how many Thai women were trafficked there.
She said she knew the six women because they told her to buy stuff for them.
Suparat said she was poor and was a relative of the victims. She said she had never travelled to Bahrain and did not know Thanit or anyone in Bahrain.
Kornchai said police were also monitoring the sex trade with Korea.
Thai police have cooperated closely with counterparts in Korea in preventing Thai women from travelling there to work as masseuses, which was a front for prostitution.
On the occasion of world anti-human trafficking day today, police will join forces with other agencies to fight human trafficking.
He urged the public to give police tip-offs about human trafficking via the 1191 hotline.
From October 30 to yesterday, 2,511 cases of human trafficking and related crimes were reported, involving 3,130 suspects, he said.