Another Bahrain sex trafficking tragedy as the body of a Thai woman found dead in Manama on April 18th is repatriated. The Paveena Foundation warns Thai women to examine very carefully employment offers from Bahrain. The 31-year-old’s autopsy follows reports of bruising amid a growing sex industry in the Gulf kingdom.

Thailand’s respected Paveena Foundation on Thursday warned Thai women about taking up employment in Bahrain. It came as the body of a Thai woman who was found dead in Manama on April 18th was repatriated back to Thailand. The 31-year-old woman’s body was later sent for an autopsy after reports of bruising being found. It comes with a rapidly growing sex industry in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Ms Aim, the mother of the 31-year-old human trafficking victim, is consoled by Ms Paveena Hongsakula of the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday. Her daughter’s remains were returned from Bahrain for an autopsy and later a funeral service.

A distraught Thai mother had to be supported and consoled on Thursday as she received the body of her 31-year-old daughter at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Identified as Ms Aim, the woman was accompanied to the airport by Ms Paveena Hongsakula of the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation for Children and Women.

Ms Aim was notified of her daughter’s death on April 18th last. The 31-year-old woman reportedly lost contact with her family a year previously. It is understood that she began living with or came under the control of a Bahraini man.

31-year-old woman had three children in Thailand. She abruptly cut off all ties with them on April 15th last year. Before, she was in constant contact

Ms Aim, in tears, told reporters that her daughter, who had three children, left to work in Bahrain in 2021. Thereafter, she would regularly make contact by video calls. In addition, she sent remittances home to take care of her children.

Afterwards, contact with the mother of three ceased abruptly on April 15th, 2023. That was until the Thai mother was contacted by the Thai embassy in Bahrain on April 18th.

In brief, her daughter’s body was found dead at the Salmaniya Hospital in Bahrain’s capital Manama. She had died on the same day. Initial reports suggested that the 31-year-old had died from respiratory and heart failure. Doctors in Bahrain suggested alcohol poisoning as the cause of death.

Nonetheless, the mother does not accept that explanation. Significantly, photos seen by her from Bahrain showed bruises and suspicious marks on her daughter’s body.

Remains of the deceased taken immediately to the Institute of Forensics in Bangkok for autopsy before the young woman’s funeral in the Thonburi district

On Thursday, the remains of the deceased Thai woman were transported to the Institute of Forensics in Bangkok. An autopsy will be carried out.

Ms Aim, in tears, took the opportunity to thank the Thai expatriate community in Bahrain for assisting her family. The elderly woman had reached out to the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation after hearing of her daughter’s death. In short, she was at a loss.

In turn, a sum of ฿92,087.56 was raised by Thais in Bahrain. Indeed, without the money, the repatriation of the young woman’s body would have been impossible.

‘I thank Ms Paveena for helping coordinate the return of my daughter’s body to Thailand and the generosity of Thai people who donated money. I paid ฿80,000 to the Thai embassy in Bahrain for the repatriation, and the remaining money will be used for the funeral,’ a tearful Ms Aim told reporters.

After the autopsy, the family planned a funeral for the young woman at Wat Maklua, situated in the Thonburi district of Bangkok. The Paveena Foundation helped organise the autopsy of her daughter.

Paveena Foundation founder warns Thai women to examine any job offer from Bahrain extremely carefully. The risks are real with most abuses never heard of

On Thursday, the founder, Ms Paveena, took the opportunity to warn Thai women thinking of taking up employment in Bahrain.

The organisation, which works closely with police in fighting human trafficking, maintains its own records. Certainly, from 2004 to 2022, Bahrain emerged as the most dangerous destination for young Thai women.

The kingdom has a long history of Thai women being enslaved and forced to work in prostitution. 

Similarly, there is a systematic human trafficking culture.

In short, an underground market for buying and selling women and sex workers as commodities.

Additionally, the added danger faced is being forced to consume drugs and other substances. In effect, the women’s handlers use their subsequent addiction to control them.

Foundation’s own figures show that Bahrain, in the period from 2004 to 2022, was the most dangerous destination for young Thai women travelling abroad

At the same time, figures for 2023 for documented cases of Thai women being forced into prostitution show Dubai leading the way with 54 cases.

Undeniably, these cases are the tip of the iceberg. Most Thai women who are trafficked or end up trapped in Bahrain eventually accept their fate.

Undoubtedly, many later return home and subsequently go back to work in the small kingdom’s roaring sex trade.

The figures for 2023 show Bahrain emerging as the third with 25 cases confirmed and documented.

Ahead of it was Myanmar or Burma, where parts of the war-torn country have been exploited as sex and gambling entertainment centres.

DSI arrests: Women warned of sex trafficking snare – massage job offers abroad from prostitution ‘brokers’ 

The deceased Thai woman, repatriated on Thursday, was the second Thai woman in Bahrain to die up to the time of her death. There are reports that she had a Bahraini partner who regularly abused and beat her.

Bahrain is a fast-growing prostitution centre in the Middle East driven in part by the presence of the American military there with thousands of personnel

Bahrain, with its capital Manama, has emerged as a fast-growing sex-for-sale centre in the Middle East.

The presence of the U.S. Navy in the country, with 9,000 military personnel, acts as a catalyst, just as it did in Thailand in the 1960s.

Prostitutes from all over the world are lured to the kingdom or come voluntarily. They include women from Russia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and of course, Thailand. At the same time, there are also girls from China and South Korea.

The rising prostitution and human trafficking industry has been clearly documented by the United States Department of State. However, an investigation by the US military into links between naval officers and the prostitution trade in the kingdom has established verifiable cases.

One prosecution which subsequently emerged was that of Gunner’s Second Mate Jihad H. Littlejohn.

Febrile, lucrative world of human trafficking

Published evidence in that case showed that the U.S. military officer formed a business relationship with a prostitute and madam in Bahrain starting in 2017. Her name was Lin Raiwest.

It started with a flirty exchange between the pair but eventually led to Mr Littlejohn handing over $2,650 to get into human trafficking. The basis for the business was to import Thai girls and put them to work earning money.

U.S. authorities released the chat transcripts linked to the case. They showed the moment when Ms Lin hooked her business partner.

‘You want some?’ she asked the U.S. naval petty officer in a text.

‘Hell yea I do,’ Mr Littlejohn replied.

‘Girls for what?’ he asked.

‘Work. Make money,’ Ms Lin answered. ‘Don’t tell nobody tho.’

At length, this is the febrile atmosphere behind the growing human trafficking and prostitution industry in Bahrain. In short, it preys on the poverty and misery of families in less developed countries and societies.

This is how a Thai woman with three children at home met her demise.

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Further reading:

DSI arrests: Women warned of sex trafficking snare – massage job offers abroad from prostitution ‘brokers’

Government reviewing prostitution laws, public consultations expected in 2021 amid reform calls from workers

Murder of a Thai woman in Portugal is troubling as police probe further and seek body parts taken by abettor

Assets of brothel bosses sequestered by Thai court which deemed them illicit proceeds of vice and crime

Thailand eyes up the sex trade with ongoing raids and a new drive against human trafficking

Thai woman masterminded a sex ring that sparked the biggest police raid in German history

Child prostitution gang that ran a sex racket that terrorised children smashed by armed police

Calls to legalise prostitution in Thailand after Pattaya sex raid on Walking Street this week

Record year for Thai tourism but not so good for Thailand’s bar girls and luxury hotels as market has changed

Police raid on prostitution bar in Udon Thani linked with serving policeman and his Thai wife

Activist slams Air Asia ad campaign in Australia that she claimed promoted Thai sex tourism at Aussie blokes

Thai police raid a sex for sale hotel in Loei province staffed by Laotian women working as prostitutes