32 Women Rescued from Brothel
December 15, 2009
WCRP: 32 Mon women were rescued by an underground Mon Migrant Union from a brothel in Chumphon province, near Ranong, Southern Thailand.The Union is an unofficial organization known throughout parts of southern Thailand for aiding migrant workers and preventing trafficking.
On November 27, the Union was informed that 8 Mon women were reluctantly working at a local brothel. According the Union’s Advisor, “Before attempting to rescue the women we asked the Thai police to help the victims, but the Thai police replied ‘we have no free time.’”
The following evening, Union members, pretending to be customers, went to the brothel and requested Mon Prostitutes. The owner, hesitant at first, confirmed that the brothel had 8 Mon women available and charged the members 2000 baht per women for one hour. While in the rooms, members said that the women begged for help and cried.
During sessions at this brothel, employees lock the doors from the outside until the allotted time is finished. In efforts to shorten the sessions and attempt to free the women, Union members prematurely banged on their respective doors until brothel employees unlocked them. Union members then forcibly negotiated the release of 8 women, but were only able to rescue 4.
The freed victims explained to Union members that the Thai Police had arranged for the 8 women to work at the brothel. The women had originally been travelling with a trafficker from Burma to find factory work in Thailand. Although, upon arrival in Chumphon, the trafficker took them to the local police station and from there they were sold to the brothel.
The victims believe that their trafficker and several other brokers and traffickers, have a special relationship with certain officers at the Chumphon police station.
After the raid, Union members deliberated about returning to the brothel to save the remaining 4 women. The Union’s advisor elaborated, “They [Union Members] asked me if they needed to help the remaining women [at the brothel]…They [Union Members] were so tired from the previous night, they didn’t want to go back, but I told them they must. If we didn’t return, I was nervous they [brothel owner] would sell the girls to another place and we would never find them”
The Union decided to send members back to the brothel, although upon arrival men -who many members recognized as uniformed local police officers- were escorting women to a bus. Union members followed the bus to a house and watched the men move the women inside. Then as the men rested on the front lawn and drank beer, Union members snuck into the house through the back. Inside the house they found 28 women in one room with their mouths taped shut and legs bound with rope. Union members immediately released all the women, and after intense negotiations with the men, were able to take the women to a safe house in Phang Nga Province.
On November 29, the women with the assistance of the Union travelled back to Burma. Union members reported that the women were between the ages of 16 and 22.
According Nai Blai Mon, President of the Underground Mon Migrant Union, one of the victims said, “My family needs money and the trafficker said I could go to Thailand without paying travel cost, but when I got a job I had to him pay back.”