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Lao woman kept as a slave for 9 years



PHOTO: Police escort "Porn" from the shop where she was held for nine years - Chiang Rai Times

The anti-human trafficking division of the Royal Thai Police yesterday arrested a Thai couple in the province of of Samut Sakhon, southwest of Bangkok, for the enslavement of a Lao woman. The couple kept the woman in a storage room and treated her as a slave for nine years.

The suspects were identified as 60 year old Suchin Vipusitthikul and his wife, Jirawadee Vipusitthikul, aged 50. The Lao woman, identified only as “Porn,” told police she has been with the suspects since 2011, when she was only 13 years old.

Police say the arrests followed a tip-off that a young Lao worker had been exploited by her employers for years. They obtained a warrant to search the shop, where they found the two suspects and the victim.

The couple are charged with human trafficking, after not paying the girl for  eight years and ordering her not to speak with anyone.  At first, Porn received 1,500 baht per month, but after a while, they stopped paying her. Her only clothes were were those given to her by the suspects. The young woman said she had never gone outside to see anyone.

The victim told police that the owners frequently tortured her, including beating her up, hitting her with a broomstick, electrical wires, a wooden baton, even putting their feet on her face, a major taboo in Thai society. She says she attempted to run away but was caught and dragged back to the store. Her captors told people outside that she was mentally impaired.

Porn says she didn’t have a day off until 2014. She finally got Sundays off but her captors didn’t allow her to go anywhere; she was forced to stay in her room. During festivals they left her some instant noodles and closed the shop, locking the doors.

Social development and human security officials said they would also provide assistance for the young woman.

SOURCE: Thai Residents


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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