A male teacher and three women were arrested on charges of procuring girls aged under 18 for prostitution, the youngest being 14, following a raid on three karaoke bars in Sikhoraphum district.
A Department of Provincial Administration (DPA) special operations team led local officials to raid the three karaoke bars along Highway 226 in Sikhoraphum district of this lower northeastern province on Thursday night.
The raid followed an allegation by the anti-human trafficking organisation Lift International that Leo Karaoke and Nad Phob Karaoke located on the highway in tambon Ra-ngae and Don Kaew Karaoke in tambon Yang were procuring girls to provide sex services to customers and profiting from it.
Details were posted on the Facebook page of the DPA special operations team.
The raids were launched about 10.30pm on Thursday. All customers were asked to leave.
Officials rounded up 19 sex workers from the three bars. They included seven below the age of 18 years. The youngest was 14. There was one male staffer at one of the bars.
The operators of the three bars were caught. They were initially charged with procuring girls into the flesh trade, persuading girls aged under 15, and also under 18, to provide sex services, operating venues offering sex services and arranging people for sexual molestation even though it was with the sex workers’ consent, and assisting children to act inappropriately.
According to the team’s Facebook page, Leo Karaoke was operated by Mr Yutthasak, 51, a local school teacher; and Ms Khanittha, 19. Their surnames were not given.
There were five girls working at the bar, the youngest aged 15. They served beer and entertained customers. The service charge for drinks was 80 baht, the money shared evenly between the waitress and the bar.
Customers could buy sex services from the girls at 2,500 baht a time. The bar kept 500 baht. Mr Yutthasak or Ms Khanittha drove the car taking the sex worker and customer to a nearby resort.
Nad Phob Karoke was operated by Ms Patcharaporn, 41, whose surname was also withheld. The bar had eight sex workers, the youngest being 15. The service charge was 100 baht per drink with the bar receiving 40 baht and the waitress 60 baht. Its staff also provided sex services, priced at 1,500, 1,800 and 2,300 baht depending on the girl’s age. Ms Patcharaporn would keep 300 baht from each girl’s payment.
Don Kaew Karaoke was run by Ms Pornwipa, 28. The bar had seven staff with the youngest being 14 years old. It charged 70 baht for serving a beer, with the bar getting 50 baht the rest going to the girls. Customers could buy sex services for 1,500 baht a time. The bar would keep 300 baht, according to the team’s Facebook page.
Narong Thipsiri, director of the DPA’s law enforcement centre, said human trafficking was a major problem that drew global attention as it violated human rights, laws and morality. If offenders were government officials or state officials they would face harsher punishment, he said.
Officials from a special operations team under the Department of Provincial Administration raid three karaoke bars in Surin on Thursday night. Nineteen sex workers, many below 18, were inside the bars.(Department of Provincial Administration’s special operations team Facebook page)