Police in Banteay Meanchey province have arrested two Thai men who allegedly used the promise of legitimate jobs to lure Cambodian women into sexual slavery in brothels in Thailand, officials said on Wednesday.
The two suspects were arrested in the province’s O’Chrou district and charged with human trafficking for allegedly forcing five local women aged 17 to 25 to work in brothels in Thailand earlier this month.
“They persuaded five Cambodian girls to go to Thailand to work as cooks in Thai homes. Instead they were forcibly turned into commercial sex workers,” Deputy Judicial Police Chief Chhoeung Sokhom said.
“Two girls aged 17 and 18 years were sent to a brothel in Bangkok. Three others were sent to a provincial brothel,” the deputy chief said by phone.
Authorities in Banteay Meanchey province were tipped off to the alleged sex trafficking scam by two of the women who escaped after contacting relatives in Thailand who paid a Thai brothel owner $250 for their freedom.
Police arrested the two trafficking suspects when they returned to Banteay Meanchey on what is believed to be another foray to lure Cambodian women into Thailand’s sex industry.
Deputy Police Chief Chhoeung Sokhom said the two suspects will appear in court today on charges of human trafficking and tricking women into prostitution.
Provincial police have sent a report to the Interior Ministry seeking help to rescue the three Cambodian women still trapped in the Bangkok brothel and a provincial brothel.
Trafficking of Cambodian women and children to Thailand and of Vietnamese women and children to Cambodia’s thriving flesh trade has burgeoned.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson on Wednesday criticized the Cambodian government’s efforts to stamp out sex trafficking.
In an address to the National Assembly, Robinson called Cambodia “a source, as well as a transit and receiving country” and said the government needs to do more to battle human traffickers.