BRUNEI – Three Thai Nationals were sentenced on Wednesday to prison for their roles in exploiting a 17-year-old girl for prostitution at the Intermediate Court in Brunei.
The 47-year-old female defendant, who is the aunt of the victim, was also fined 30,000 Brunei dollars (Bt768,000), or an additional 30-month prison sentence if she fails to pay the fine.
The two Thai male defendants were each fined BN$20,000 and BN$10,000 in default of which they would have to serve prison sentences of 20 months and 10 months, respectively. In addition the male defendants were also sentenced to five and four strokes of the cane.
All the defendants indicated to the court that they would not be able to pay the fines and thus would have to serve their respective default sentences.
The underage victim, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, had only arrived in the country four days prior to the raid.
Prior to that, the victim had asked her aunt for Bt13,000 for her father who was involved in a car accident last year that left him with critical injuries.
The woman instead offered to help the victim engage in sexual services and then facilitated the victim’s journey to Brunei from Thailand and also provided food and accommodation.
â€œThe case raised three aggravating factors which were that the victim was an (underaged) child, the victim was related to the traffickers and that it (trafficking) was transnational as they were smuggling a fellow Thai to a different country,â€ she said.
The case was also only the second ever trafficking conviction in Brunei Darussalam under the same Order.
The only other trafficking conviction happened in 2012 when another Thai national, Sudjai Sinthorn, was sentenced by Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong at the High Court which set the binding precedent on the current case.
Tan said the country is committed to tackling the exploitation of women and children through trafficking not just in the country but across the border as well.
â€œBrunei is a signatory to the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) which shows ASEANâ€™s commitment to tackling trafficking,â€ she said.
Tan said the law was designed to ensure that women and children in the country, who are more at risk of being exploited, are protected.
â€œThe Brunei law against trafficking, which is the Trafficking and Smuggling Order 2004, provides for a specific offence of trafficking children under Section 5 of the Order,â€ she said.
â€œThe section provides for a specific minimum penalty that is different from adult trafficking, to show the abhorrence where a child is a victim of trafficking because children are more vulnerable and therefore, requires more protection,â€ she said.
When approached to comment on the case, the Thai embassy declined, saying: â€œWe are still in the process of consultation, and are not able to comment further on the case.â€
The Brunei Times
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