The Deputy director-general of the Department of Children and Youth has been indicted for the obstruction of an investigation into a child sex trafficking ring and human trafficking in southern Thailand.
A total of 18 locations linked to the trafficking of minors for prostitution were raided by law enforcement agents. Among them was a shelter for children.
The raids by anti-human trafficking officers followed the arrest of 16 people in November last year for child sex trafficking.
Since then, there have been efforts by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and non-governmental organizations to find 18 more suspects.
All 18 suspects are wanted for child sex-related charges, including colluding to operate a child sex trafficking ring and luring minors into prostitution.
There is a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and a fine of 2 million baht for these offenses.
The assistant national police chief, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, told a press briefing that the anti-human trafficking investigation pointed towards the Surat Thani Children and Families Shelter.
The findings implicated several officials, including a deputy director-general of the Department of Children and Youth, the chairman of a local savings cooperative, a deputy chairman of Phunphin district’s tambon administrative organization’s council, soldiers, teachers, and doctors in the area.
It was discovered that a shelter official identified as “Aem” assaulted children to pressure them into prostitution.
Investigators determined that the Department of Children and Youth’s deputy director-general also hampered an investigation into the human trafficking ring.
In addition to the deputy director-general, he has been charged with malfeasance in office. Pol Lt Gen Surachate said investigators are collecting evidence for submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
For his part, Aem was charged with malfeasance in office, obstructing a police investigation, and physical assault of a minor.