Thai traffickers trick man into prostitution in Dubai

Photo by MGR Online.

Thailand’s cruel sex traffickers have struck again. The victim, a man only identified as ‘B,’ said the three traffickers told him he would work as a massage therapist in Dubai last year.

On top of a monthly 80,000 baht salary, B was promised free food and accommodation, as well as a free flight.

But B was in for a horrific realisation. Once he arrived at the massage shop in Dubai in November 2021, the Chinese manager seized his passport. B was then forced to sell sex to pay off more than 70,000 baht of debt he was told he owed for his travel costs.

B said that clients were charged 900 baht per session, and half of this was deducted to pay off his debt. B was able to get help from Dubai authorities after he was traded to a second massage shop. He was then able to escape back to Thailand, where he reported the situation to the police.

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Thailand’s Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the culprits on Tuesday. The traffickers were charged with colluding to commit human smuggling for prostitution regardless of the victim’s willingness.

The alleged traffickers are 32 year old Janya Phuwong, 37 year old Panuwat Sapsomboon, and 45 year old Nanthaporn Kullangka.

Police arrested Janya in Samut Prakan. Nanthaporn was arrested in Bangkok’s Bueng Kum district and Panuwat in Phuket’s Kathu district.

Janya confessed to the charges, according to police. Nanthaporn told police she was paid 3,000 baht to teach Thai massage to B. Panuwat said he received 10,000 baht to convince B to work in Dubai, Nation Thailand reported.

The investigation found over 4 million baht circulating in Janya’s bank accounts between May and November. The commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, Lieutenant-General Jiraphop Bhuridej, said that many other people might be victims of Janya.

This is far from the first time a Thai has been trafficked to Dubai. In September, a 40 year old Thai woman who claimed she escaped forced prostitution in Dubai pleaded for help for her three friends, who were still imprisoned in Dubai. She said the traffickers offered them gardening work in Dubai with an attractive salary of 80,000 – 100,000 baht per month.

Other Thai victims of trafficking to Dubai have been promised jobs as masseuses, as B was.

In July, Thailand’s labour minister warned women about sex trafficking in some fake job opportunities in the United Arab Emirates. The minister, Suchart Chomklin, said that many Facebook ads invite women to apply for jobs in 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.

It looks like Thailand has yet to crack down on Dubai trafficking scams and help the many women and men brutally targeted.

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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.