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300 Thai women trapped in casino prostitution

About 300 Thai women have been forced into prostitution at a casino near the Thai-Myanmar border adjacent to Tak province, according to a 25-year-old woman who managed to escape.

The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, arrived at the Royal Thai Police Office on Thursday to file the complaint.

She said that early this year, a net idol had held a live broadcast programme online and invited women to apply for public relations and entertainment jobs in the border area of the neighbouring country. The net idol had insisted the jobs had nothing to do with sex services.

She accepted the invitation but when she arrived at the casino in Myawaddy, its staff told her that unless she worked as a prostitute, she would have to pay a ransom of 25,000 baht.

The woman said about 300 Thai women are trapped there in the same circumstances.

Accompanying the woman, Ekapop Lueangprasert from the Survive network said that early this month, a woman had called for help.

She was detained about 400 metres from the Moei River that separates Myanmar and Thailand, across from Mae Sot district of Tak.

On April 10, she and another Thai woman escaped from the casino late at night when Myanmar soldiers were changing shifts.

They ran to the border and shouted for help as Myanmar soldiers pursued them. In response, Thai soldiers told them to swim across the river to the Thai side, Mr Ekapop said.

Thai soldiers and his team were there to receive the escapees.

Meeting the woman at the Royal Thai Police Office, Pol Maj Gen Wiwat Khamchamnan, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said police would question the woman before taking further action.

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