Labour minister warns Thai women of trafficking in UAE ‘jobs’

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, photo by News Directory 3.

Thailand’s labour minister is warning women about sex trafficking in some fake job opportunities in the United Arab Emirates. The minister, Suchart Chomklin, said yesterday that many Facebook ads invite women to apply for jobs in a spa massage, marketing, personnel management, and gambling websites in the UAE. Surchart said that these ads offer high returns and payment for airfares, as well as tourist and visit visas.

But Suchart cautions that many Thai women who have applied for these jobs have arrived in the UAE, only to be forced into prostitution. He said the victims are often picked up at an airport and forced to sign debt agreements and leave their passports, preventing them from escaping. They are then brought to do jobs such as prostitution at massage parlors, Suchart said.

One horrific example of this trafficking happened last year. The alleged victim told authorities she was invited to work as a masseuse at a spa in Dubai. The woman who invited her was called ‘Ms. Lilly’, and promised her a 40,000 baht monthly salary. After she flew to Dubai in September, Ms Lilly confiscated her passport and ordered her to give clients sexual services.

The Department of Special Investigation said when the alleged victim wanted to leave, she was told she would have to pay 70,000 baht for expenses.

The victim got public attention in September 2021 when, while in the UAE, she posted a video on Facebook about her situation. The video went viral, and PM Prayut then ordered the Labour Ministry to coordinate with the Royal Thai Embassy in Abu Dhabi to return her home. Thai authorities then tracked down the trafficked woman, and the parlour where she was allegedly forced to work was shut down. She was brought home safely. Police arrested one of six suspects in the case in March of this year.

Suchart said that job seekers should find information about the countries where they planned to work, at and, or at local employment offices.

For more UAE news, click HERE.


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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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