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Woman held for trafficking Myanmar girls.

Four girls under 18 among 13 allegedly lured to provide sex at guesthouse

Police yesterday announced the arrest of a Thai woman suspected of human trafficking and the rescue of 13 Myanmar women - including a 16-year-old and three girls under 18 - allegedly lured into sex work at a Ranong guesthouse.

Chonthipaporn Palosilpa, 32, who was nabbed at DD Guesthouse in tambon Khao Niwet in Muang district, faces charges of procuring a girl under 15 and others under 18 for prostitution and molestation, as well as a charge of harbouring "aliens". She denied the charges.

After a tip-off from the Freeland Foundation that some Myanmar women under 18 were doing sex work in Ranong, an investigation by Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) police found this was taking place in the guesthouse. So they organised a "sting" in which an undercover official agreed to buy sex from two women (including the 16-year-old girl) out of 13 Myanmar women presented to him, AHTD chief Pol Maj-General Chawalit Sawaengphuet said.

Upon payment, police presented themselves to arrest the suspect and rescued 13 Myanmar women and girls at the premises. Victim screening found that besides the 16-year-old, three other girls under 18 were reportedly assaulted and forced into prostitution, while nine other Myanmar women had illegally entered the Kingdom.

Ranong Governor Cherdsak Jampates said that police would try to catch others involved in these crimes. He noted that state officials were not involved in human trafficking - but if they were, they would be severely punished.

A meeting of Ranong's anti-human trafficking committee next Monday would help the authorities to get tougher in checking entertainment places to prevent and suppress human trafficking and prostitution, he said. Ranong and Myanmar's Koh Song province recently signed an MoU for joint anti-human trafficking efforts.

Last Wednesday, police arrested three Myanmar human-trafficking suspects who lured Myanmar girls into prostitution in Mae Sot in Tak province and rescued three girls under 18, following a tip that a gang lured girls aged 14-18 for sex work in the area.

In Muang district in Nakhon Sawan, AHTD police on June 16 arrested Jarinrat Chong, 48, a karaoke bar owner, and rescued eight Laotian girls aged 14-17 and one 17-year-old Myanmar girl from the bar. This case caused national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew to order the transfer of Muang Nakhon Sawan superintendent Pol Colonel Khanakorn Rungkhajornklin to an inactive post, and to transfer several other police to work in Provincial Police Region 6.

Adul also set up a fact-finding committee to probe what happened and an allegation that the bar owner paid bribes to some police in five divisions for years - Bt21,000 in total - and occasionally sent girls to "welcome guests" at rogue police events so they would allow her to keep her business running.


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