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Human trafficking rackets target Foreign workers
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  • Published: 19/03/2012 at 08:41 AM
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Human trafficking rackets thriving on deception, fraud and brutality target largely foreign nationals from neighbouring countries and are responsible for placing Thailand on a US watch list, police say.

Chawalit: Abuse is increasing

The Anti-Human Trafficking Division has found the human trafficking rackets smuggle people and supply them as slave or forced labour to the flesh trade, fishing industry, and gangs of street beggars.

Pol Maj Gen Chawalit Sawaengpuet, the division commander, said the traffickers use various methods for luring their targets.

Most common are the rackets which con young girls, most of whom are from Laos, to work as prostitutes.

He said the traffickers pose as brokers to meet the girls, mostly from poor families, in Laos. They promise them jobs as domestic helpers or shop assistants in Thailand.

Pol Maj Gen Chawalit said the rackets give the girls forged passports which make them out to be older than their real age, for easier border clearance.

Soon after they enter Thailand, the girls are taken by another group of traffickers to bars where they are locked up and made to work as prostitutes.

The bars often double as karaoke parlours. They are scattered across the country, from Nong Khai and Udon Thani in the Northeast, to Hat Yai in the South and also Bangkok.

The commander said procuring and trafficking the girls is not a complicated process as the victims arrive in Thailand overland.

In the fishery industry, a similar trafficking ruse is employed to recruit targets _ young Thai men.

At the end of the rice harvesting season, they migrate from the Northeast looking for jobs in the city.

Pol Maj Gen Chawalit said the traffickers seek out the men at the bus terminal at Mor Chit or at interchanges in Sanam Luang or the Victory Monument.

The traffickers befriend the men who are persuaded into joining them for a drink at a karaoke bar.

The bar owner, who is working in collusion with the gang, overcharges the men. Unable to pay the bills, the men are threatened with legal action and most eventually agree to work in the fishery business to pay off their debts.

Pol Maj Gen Chawalit said once aboard the fishing trawlers, the men endure harsh living conditions and mistreatment at the hands of the captain and crew.

In other labour-intensive jobs which hire alien migrant workers, the working conditions are no less cruel.

The commander said the workers, particularly those employed illegally, have no choice but to accept unfair terms of employment.

"It's one form of exploitation after another," he said.

In some cases, women and children from Cambodia are housed together in squalid environments in secret locations. Some are tortured physically for so long they became permanently disabled.

The cruelty inflicted on them can be extreme. Pol Maj Gen Chawalit recalls a recent rescue of a Cambodian boy in Pattaya who had lost his tongue, after traffickers cut it out to ensure he could not identify the gang.

"Sadly, the boy couldn't give us much information," he said.

The disabled victims were forced to beg at intersections and the gang would take all their money.

A 13-year-old Cambodian was forced to work as a garland seller at a busy intersection in Bangkok. Pregnant from rape, she was told by the gang to sell the garlands in the scorching summer heat for many hours almost every day.

Trafficking of humans and drugs often go together. The gangs hook victims on the substance and make them work for it.

Thailand is seen as a key origin, transit point and destination of the gangs.

Last year's annual report on the human trafficking situation in Thailand prepared by the US embassy places Thailand on the Tier 2 watchlist of countries.

Thailand is among 41 countries in Tier 2, Pol Maj Gen Chawalit said.

Bangkok Post Logo

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/284932/human-trafficking-rackets-thrive



-- Edited by Roaming reporter on Tuesday 20th of March 2012 01:00:34 AM

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