Thai woman arrested over alleged ‘trafficking women to Middle East for wealthy Arab customers’

A Thai woman was arrested for allegedly trafficking women to the Middle East for wealthy Arab customers.

Thai police in Bahrain raided the massage parlour, suspected to be a human trafficking hub, after receiving complaints about a gang that allegedly lured its victims into working at the spa.

Officers reportedly rescued 10 women who were forced into prostitution.

A 34-year-old victim from Samut Prakan province on the outskirts of Bangkok said she travelled to work at the spa on December 21, 2020 before her passport was confiscated by the traffickers.

She said: ‘I was forced into prostitution and was paid only 150-300 baht for each time. The remaining amount went to the traffickers. They made me welcome the guests for 24 hours, and when I resisted, they threatened to throw me down the building.’

Fed up with the abuse, the victim contacted her sister-in-law on January 8, and sought help from the Foundation for Children and Women, an organisation for women’s welfare in Thailand.

Police investigated for about a month before arresting the Thai shopkeeper, her Bahraini husband, and two other women.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old alleged victim received compensation from the Bahraini government in the amount of 100,000 THB and returned to Thailand on February 28. However, she tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival and had to receive treatment for more than two months.

She was only able to give evidence to police in the last week of May, which led to the arrest of the culprit.

Major General Wiwat Khamchann said: ‘The culprit persuaded the victims to work in a massage spa in Bahrain claiming they would be paid 50,000-70,000 THB per month.

‘She would then bring the victims to register for a passport and purchase a flight ticket where the cost would entirely be taken care of.’

The Foundation for Children and Women has coordinated with the Royal Thai Embassy in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, until all of the victims are finally rescued and brought back to Thailand.