2006-02-01 15:39:33 UTC
Police rescue 47 Laotian women forced into prostitution in Thai karaoke
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Thai police on Wednesday raided two karaoke
bars in a province near Bangkok and rescued 47 women from neighboring
Laos who were forced to work as prostitutes, police said.
The women rescued from the bars in Chachoengsao province, 30 kilometers
(19 miles) east of the capital, included eight girls under age 18, said
police Col. Kraibun Songsuat. He said the bars' operators had kept the
doors to the bars locked to keep the women from escaping.
Seven people involved in operating the bars were arrested and charged
with human trafficking, which carries a maximum penalty of 50 years in
prison, and with providing shelter to illegal immigrants, which carries
a penalty of up to 20 years, he said.
Kraibun said the karaoke bars also served as a venue from which women
from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos - Thailand's poorer neighbors - were
resold to third countries, particularly Malaysia.
Often in such cases, women are promised legitimate work in Bangkok, and
then compelled to become sex workers, who are then sold several times.
Human trafficking, especially in the sex trade, is a major problem in
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