Men were also running a normal prostitution racket on the side exploiting their girlfriends to feed their vile drug habits. A story that shows what can happen in Thailand when the country’s drug problem meets its sex for sale culture. The increasingly buoyant racket was being run from a hotel near a key transit hub.
Thailand’s anti-human trafficking police this week stormed a location in Bangkok and simultaneously raided six other properties as they smashed a growing child prostitution ring that had sprung up in the city over the last four months. Seven men, reportedly drug addicts, were arrested in the operation and fourteen children were taken into protective care.
As Thailand’s authorities continue to crack down on organised crime involved in human trafficking across border with a focus on prevention in relation to the abuse of minors comes a story from Bangkok which shows that human traffic or the sexual exploitation of children comes also at a local level.
Coordinated raids in Bangkok centred on a city hotel
This week, Thai police and anti-human trafficking squad members staged a series of coordinated raids which involved locking down a hotel in the centre of Bangkok and executing warrants to search six other locations.
Child sex prostitution ring
The target of the operation was a crime gang running a growing child prostitution ring in the city. The people operating the ring were running it not at the behest of senior crime lords but instead in order to make money to pay for their increasingly demanding drug habits.
Nightmare world for over a dozen of children
Police Major General Worawat Watnakornbancha, the head of the Anti Human Trafficking Division, gave the media some insight into the nightmare world that police this week were tasked at bringing down. ‘If the children refused to cooperate, they would be beaten or tortured with fire and blades,’ he told reporters.
Fourteen children rescued from the abhorrent racket
This week’s operation which involved heavily armed police resulted in the arrest of seven Thai men believed to be running the abhorrent racket. Police revealed after the raid that, in all, fourteen boys and girls ranging in age from 10 to 16 were being regularly hired out for sex. The gang also had a line in normal prostitution with the girlfriends of the men employed in the prostitution trade to rake in more funds.
Headquartered in a Hua Lamphong hotel – ฿300 to ฿500 a visit from a growing customer base
The child prostitution gang had headquartered their sordid sex exchange at a downtown hotel in the Hua Lamphong area of Bangkok and customers were offered sexual services for between ฿300 to ฿500 per visit. The proximity of the location to a train station and transit hub in Bangkok made for brisk business.
Police retrieved intelligence and financial information
The police operation as well as resulting in arrests, led to the seizure of mobile phones allowing police to track down intelligence on the network further and a range of bank books allowing them to investigate the gang’s financial operations.
Police tipped off by members of the public
Police Major General Worawat told the media that the police were tipped off to the gang’s activities by concerned members of the public. ‘The suspects admitted to committing the crime for at least four months. Several of them also had drug and robbery records,’ he said. He indicated that the gang will also be questioned by officers of the narcotics crime division.
Thailand’s crackdown on human trafficking and the abuse of minors is an ongoing campaign
Since the Thai government introduced a crackdown on human trafficking some years ago including an effective crackdown also on the excesses of the prostitution industry, police have made one thing quite clear to would-be offenders. The abuse of children will always result in those involved being arrested and prosecuted with the full rigour of the law.
The police and the increasingly powerful anti-human trafficking agencies work closely now with international human rights bodies both based in Thailand and outside the country in rooting out this particularly offensive part of Thailand’s vast sex industry.
Hotline for the public to report suspicious activity
The children involved in this week’s raid have been taken into the custody and care of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
Authorities are also advertising a hotline number for members of the public to keep reporting any suspicious activity of this nature.
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