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Trafficking victims to remain abroad pending inquiry

Trafficking victims to remain abroad pending inquiry

SIX Cambodian women – including one minor – who were trafficked to Thailand to work as prostitutes will have to remain in the country until local authorities wind up their investigation into the case, NGO workers said yesterday.

Ly Sotheary, executive director of the Koh Kong-based Healthcare Centre for Children, said yesterday that the six women, discovered when Thai police raided a karaoke parlour earlier this month, would remain at a shelter in Trat province until the investigation was closed.

“They want to be back as soon as they can, but they have to wait until police in Thailand finish the investigation,” said Ly Sotheary, who returned on Thursday after visiting the six women at the shelter. She said the six appeared to be “in good health”.

“We urged the police there to work faster on the case so that they can be back soon,” she said.

The women, who were trafficked into Thailand under the pretext of receiving legitimate jobs and later forced into prostitution, were discovered when Thai police raided a karaoke bar in Trat on August 5.

Ly Sotheary said previously that a seventh trafficking victim escaped the karaoke parlour last month and provided information that led to the raid. Police also arrested 21 people, including the victims, other Cambodian prostitutes, customers and two brothel owners.

A 30-year-old prostitute who worked at the karaoke bar and returned to Cambodia after the raid said she felt sorry for the victims, especially the underage girl.

“I was very embarrassed when we were arrested, but I really pity the true victims,” said the woman, who declined to be named.

Thai police have charged a Thai man and a Cambodian woman with running the karaoke parlour, and have remanded them in custody pending their trial in Trat.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that he was unaware of the case.

“I asked the ambassador there, but they have not provided any information about the case yet,” he said. Bun Leut, Koh Kong provincial governor, said he, too, was unaware of the case.

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