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British manager of Pattaya Soi 6 bar detained for human trafficking

After Pattaya police searched renowned Soi 6 for underage and trafficked girls, Briton William Reece was arrested and charged with human trafficking. 

A British bartender and a Thai woman were charged with human trafficking after Pattaya police raided renowned Soi 6 in search of underage and trafficked girls. 

Englishman William Reece and 31-year-old Jaranya Deeppair were arrested at the Flirt bar, which is owned by Nightwish Group, a firm that manages 27 bars in Pattaya. 

The arrest warrants were issued on April 4, charging Reece and Jaranya of trafficking women from Issan to Pattaya, where they were forced to work at Soi 6 bars for as little as 1,000 baht for sex in illegal upstairs rooms. 

Following the arrests, bargirls from Flirt were also transported to Pattaya Police Station. This provoked an even greater search of Soi 6 the next night. Pattaya Police Chief Pol. Col. Thanapong Phothi indicated that this week’s operation on Soi 6 was aimed at “instilling confidence in Pattaya’s image among tourists.”

However, the arrests and accompanying police action had the opposite effect, as many individuals opposed the actions as being detrimental to tourists’ interests. Pattaya has shut down bars on Walking Street and arrested foreigners, examining their passports and visas for overstayers. The move was in stark contrast to the coronavirus pandemic, when authorities did everything they could to make immigrants feel welcome. 

In response to the charges, Nightwish issued a statement defending its low-rent bars, claiming that police discovered no proof of underage girls or criminal conduct at Flirt. 

The statement also suggested that Reece and Jaranya were framed, saying, “We believe that the raid took place based on the erroneous testimony of just one individual, who had been paid to make a false statement, and we do not expect anything to come of the charges.” Nightwish takes its obligations seriously and is sincerely concerned about the well-being of all of its employees. We would never engage in destructive practices.”

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