Fifty-three Lao females – including three girls under 18 – were rounded up in a raid on a karaoke bar in Narathiwat's Muang district following a tip-off of alleged underage prostitution and human trafficking.
DSI Bureau of Human Trafficking Crime director Pol Lt Colonel Torsak Sawadimongkol and Narathiwat Immigration Office superintendent Pol Colonel Noppadol Rakchat led a 60-strong team to search the bar on Rangae Makka Road, at 12.30am on Friday.
Police searched the Fan Mai Karaoke Bar after three Lao workers – apparently under 18 – agreed to provide sex services to undercover police.
The 53 workers were later screened by forensic officers as well as officials from the provincial social development and human security office, labour office and Alliance Anti Trafic (AAT) Foundation.
An anonymous source at AAT said the raid of this bar followed a tip-off provided by a foundation volunteer in Laos that three girls were lured into prostitution in the Thai southern border province.
Narathiwat social development and human security officer Masapi Incharansat said 53 workers had passports and visas but they worked in the illegal profession of prostitution.
The three underage girls – who consented or were forced into prostitution -– were regarded as human trafficking victims and would be sent to the Narathiwat Children and Family Home for rehabilitation and legal protection.
Police are also preparing charges of violating the Child Protection Act 2003, the Labour Protection Act and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008.