Happy ending for Thai woman duped into sex trade

Happy ending for Thai woman duped into sex trade
PHOTO: The New Paper

A young woman's Cinderella dream of finding a wealthy husband in Bahrain turned into a nightmare when she was forced into prostitution.

Chaiyaphum native Neung (not her real name), 21, was rescued from sex traffickers in Manama, capital of the Middle East country, and returned to Thailand on Saturday. Neung's family had on August 11 appealed to the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation for Women and Children, which coordinated with the Consular Affairs Department's Protection of Thai Nationals Abroad Division to have her rescued.

The family personally thanked foundation president Paveena Hongsakul on Monday at its offices in Pathum Thani. Neung, from a poor family, had been working as a shop assistant in Pattaya when she met a woman identified only as Supaporn, who offered to find her a foreign boyfriend who could improve her family's financial status.

Neung consulted her family and they gave their blessing. Supaporn put Neung in touch with a foreign man and arranged for her to travel to Bahrain on August 4 to meet him.

Several days later Neung sent her family a Line chat message saying she was locked up in a building and had been forced into prostitution.

She said her captors were demanding Bt180,000 (S$7,368) to cover their expenses in bringing her to Bahrain, but suggested that she and her elder sister could take turns working in the sex trade to repay the debt.

With Neung safe at home again, her family is urging other young women not to accept offers of well-paying jobs or marriages abroad. Paveena echoed the warning, saying gangs preyed on Thai women's desire for a better life, only to enslave them in Malaysia, South Korea and some Middle East countries.

She said many such women ended up being forced into prostitution or hard labour that was often also illegal.

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