Aunt sold girl, 17, for sex work in Korea: police

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Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - The police's Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) yesterday applied for an arrest warrant for a Thai woman who allegedly lured her 17-year-old niece into prostitution with a well-paid job in South Korea.

The move came after the girl was rescued and sent back to Thailand on Saturday night after calling for help via Facebook.

AHTD commander Pol Maj-General Chawalit Swangpuech said Thai Police worked with Seoul police to rescue the Roi Et girl, identified as Ae (not her real name). The girl, a former employee at a Pattaya tour company, reportedly told police her 43-year-old aunt, who married a Korean man and opened a massage parlour in Seoul, told her about a well-paid restaurant job there. So, she travelled to South Korea with a Korean man and a Thai woman early this month.

After arrival, a Korean gang took her passport and forced her to work as a sex worker for 20 hours a day. She said she tried to phone her aunt for help but was turned down, so she used Facebook to notify a Thai police officer - which led to the rescue.

Chawalit said police had applied for an arrest warrant for the aunt for charges of human trafficking and procuring a child for sex work. Police were also checking with Immigration Police for the names of the Korean male suspect and Thai female that accompanied the girl to Seoul.

AHTD officer Pol Lt-Colonel Chusak Apaipak said this case, which saw collaboration between AHTD and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, had also led to the rescuing of seven other Thai women. Besides a suspect now in police custody, he said Thai police would also ask Interpol in South Korea to arrest a Korean man alleged to be the gang's leader.

Deputy superintendent of Khok Srisuphan station in Sakhon Nakhon, Pol Lt-Colonel Thanin Jindasamut, was the person who received Ae's call for help via his Facebook page. He said the girl managed to tell him about her ordeal and the shop location so he alerted AHTD and the Thai Consulate to aid her.

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