Montaa, the brothel’s owner, has been arrested on charges of running a
brothel and employing workers who were both underage and illegal aliens.
Chonburi Immigration Police raided a Plutaluang karaoke
bar masquerading as a brothel for woman trafficked from Laos.
Acting on a request from the Laotian Embassy, a team of
officers, social workers and psychologists descended on the Raan Nong Aom
Karaoke Sept. 17, finding 17 Laotian women between the ages of 19 and 28 who
were virtual prisoners at the four-building Moo 1 complex.
Police arrested Orawan Montaa, the brothel’s owner, on
charges of running a brothel and employing workers who were both underage
and illegal aliens. The 17 women rescued were charged with prostitution and
immigration offenses before being deported.
Although not initially charged, Aom was also alleged by
police to be involved in human trafficking. A 21-year-old woman, identified
only as “Joy,” said she and six other women contacted the Laotian embassy
for help after Orawan allegedly refused to pay them for more than six months
and kept them under lock-and-key almost around the clock.
According to Joy, the 48-year-old Phitsanulok native had
promised to pay each woman 3,600 baht per month, plus 700 of the 1,200 baht
she collected from each Thai customer. However, once the women arrived in
Plutaluang, they were told they owed 10,000 baht in transportation fees and
their 700 baht cut had to be paid to cover “room expenses.” Joy said after
seven months, she’d yet to receive even a single baht.
The karaoke brothel was spread out over four adjacent
buildings, but only the two center units were used. The side shophouses were
left vacant to provide easy escape routes in case of a police raid. It
didn’t help, as this month’s Immigration Police crackdown came after an
undercover officer was sent in to set up a “date.”
Joy said each woman was allowed only holidays off per
month and that if they did not provide proper notification of which days
they wanted off, they were fined another 1,000 baht. Working or not, all the
buildings were heavily guarded by rotating squads of male Thai thugs.
She said some girls had managed to escape, but alleged
that Orawan had paid contacts at the local bus station and knew anytime one
tried to flee.