BANGKOK – The head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Pol Maj-General Chawalit Sawaengphuet, yesterday presented two recent arrests, including a suspect who lured a Thai woman into forced prostitution in South Africa.
In the first case, 21-year-old transvestite Marak Lakoti was arrested at a Chatuchak shopping mall in Bangkok for allegedly conspiring with at least four others to lure a 36-year-old Chon Buri restaurant cashier into prostitution with the promise of a well-paid Thai massage job in South Africa.
The woman was detained in a Johannesburg hotel basement and forced to prostitute herself until she escaped and got help from Thai compatriots.
The woman was later sold to another sex trafficking group, until she escaped again and this time called for help from police, which lead to her being deported. She later filed a police complaint over her ordeal.
Although Marak maintained his innocence, police inquiries found that this gang had at least four people in both Thailand and South Africa, while the victim claimed another 10 Thai women were detained in the basement by this gang, Chawalit said.
In the second case, Wilai Toyabutr, 58, a former employee of a job agency, was arrested in Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal for allegedly luring a Myanmar man to work in the fish industry in Samut Sakhon.
But the man found himself forced to work on a fishing boat for 4-5 months until he escaped. He claimed he found the man a job but didn’t know it was forced labour.
Chawalit urged members of the public to alert the authorities via hotline 119 if they spot cases of suspected human trafficking