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Lao women who were forced into prostitution in Thailand await the trial of their former captor. Three young Laotian girls carry water in a village in Khammouane province, Nov.
More than 20 Lao women who had been brought against their will to Thailand to work in a brothel were transferred to a home for trafficking victims Friday while they wait for their captor to be tried, according to a Thai official.
The 21 women, three of whom are under the age of 18, were part of a larger group of 41 which Thai police freed Wednesday from two karaoke bars in the town of Sungai Golok in southern Narathiwat province, where they were forced to work as prostitutes. Sungai Golok, which Thai police say is a major human trafficking destination in the country with over brothels, is located on the border with Malaysia.
The remaining 20 women, who authorities said willingly entered the country, are being interviewed by immigration police and are likely to be deported in the coming week. A Thai human trafficking official, who spoke with RFA on condition of anonymity, said the trafficked women had been brought to the Sri Surat rehabilitation center in Thailand's Surat Thani province where they would await legal proceedings against their captor, who was arrested in the raid. In the meantime, they will learn a vocational skill.
She said that all of the trafficking victims have passports and would not be sent to the immigration police for repatriation. The 20 women who had voluntarily crossed into Thailand would likely be repatriated through Nongkhai on the border with Laos, she said. They came willingly and are over 18, so it is likely they will simply be deported. Thai police said Wednesday that they had rescued the 41 Lao women, aged , from the Inter-Karaoke Bars 1 and 2 in Sungai Golok after receiving a tip from one of the victim's relatives.