A quiet northern town in Thailand has been shocked by revelations that several government officials allegedly bought sex from underage girls for years.
The abuse was uncovered when a former police informant found out late last year that her daughter was among a group of underage prostitutes. She has since fought to expose the scandal and bring the culprits to justice.
Now, the spotlight is on the sex trade in Mae Hong Son province, where at least three girls were allegedly forced into prostitution.
Pol Senior Sgt-Major Yutthachai Thongchat, who worked at the Nam Piang Din Police Station in Mae Hong Son province until the scandal broke out, has been charged with human trafficking for procuring minors for sex along with two women, Piyawan Sukma and Piyathas Parpthiensuwan.
“These two women threatened to post a video clip on Facebook showing me taking drugs, which they encouraged me to try, if I refused to join the flesh trade,” the daughter of the complainant said on condition of anonymity. “The first time took place in November 2013.”
The girl, now 19, said she was given Bt1,000 (RM126) for the sex each time, while her procurer took another Bt1,000 from her customer.
In the following years, she had have sex for money about 10 times a month and she found out that other girls were also trapped in the same fate.
Another girl said she was a student in junior secondary school when a friend introduced her to Piyawan and Piyathas in February 2014.
“About one week after the introduction, Piyawan brought me to a hotel and told me to do what the customer wanted for money. If I didn’t obey, I would be hit,” the girl said. “That day, I was paid Bt1,000.”
She said she had since tried to avoid Piyawan, who kept calling her to ask her to get involved in prostitution.
“But one day, I ran out of money and decided to return to her,” the girl said. She ended up being sold for sex almost every day for more than two years.
On some days, she had to serve up to four customers. Finally, she fled to another province.
Another alleged victim said Yutthachai once threatened to run her and other young prostitutes out of Mae Hong Son if they refused to serve his customers.
– The Nation/Asia News Network