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Thai women forced into sex work in UAE recount ordeal, seek assistance from homeland

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows a view of the city of Ajman, which is the fifth-largest in the United Arab Emirates. (Photo via Twitter)

Several Thai women are revealed to have been duped into prostitution in the United Arab Emirates after being urged to apply for jobs in the massage business in the country, with Thailand’s Labor Ministry trying to help the victims and secure their return home.

Thai Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said Supachai Phosu, second deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, had informed him of the cases, where workers were initially asked to go to work in Thai massage shops in various Emirati cities but were later forced to become sex workers.

Anyone who refused to comply was reportedly threatened and physically harmed, Suchart said.

He said a 34-year-old woman, identified as Laddawan Singoi, was offered a job in a Thai massage parlor in Dubai by her aunt in October 2021. However, she was forced to accept prostitution and locked up in a room if she refused to comply.

Suchart highlighted that at least two more Thai women had endured a similar situation. They were named as Sureeporn Ponyiam, a resident of the central northeastern province of Roi Et and Sasitaporn Wattanasri from Buri Ram province, which lies in lower northeastern Thailand.

All three Thai women had their passports and other documents confiscated, and were unable to travel outside the UAE city of Ajman.

Laddawan said she had been in contact with the Thai consulate in Dubai since March 28, but no improvement had been made in her case.

She eventually contacted other government departments to assist in repatriating her and her friends to Thailand.

Suchart asserted that the Bangkok government is concerned about Thai laborers abroad because they are the breadwinners of their families in Thailand, and send remittances.

Thai government staff will file a report with the police in Dubai to help workers apply for emergency passports so they can be returned, he noted.

Moreover, the International Cooperation Bureau has communicated with Provincial Labor Offices to inform the victims' families of their current situation.


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