Patong bar raided for child prostitution, 6 teenagers rescued

Photo via Facebook/ Taphikrit Phuangkurab

The special operation unit from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) conducted an undercover raid on Velvet bar on Bangla Walking Street in the Patong neighbourhood of Phuket yesterday after being notified of child prostitution involving teenagers under 18 years old.

The international anti-trafficking organisation, Operation Underground Railroad, complained to the DOPA that Velvet bar on Bangla Walking Street lured teenage girls aged under 18 years old into offering sex services to foreign customers.

After conducting an investigation to verify the complaint, the DOPA discovered that Velvet bar was secretly providing sex services to foreign customers, despite operating as a regular bar. The bar was operated without a license as well. Consequently, the officers divided into two teams and carried out raids at the bar and a nearby hotel at 8pm yesterday.

During the bar raid, officers arrested two women including the bar manager, Taksakorn “Nam” Suppa-akkarapokin, and a sex worker agent named Watcharaporn “Uki” Thongmark. The two were charged with operating entertainment venues without permission and human trafficking.

The penalty for operating a bar without permission will result in imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to 60,000 baht, or both according to Section 26(22) of the Entertainment Place Act. They also face imprisonment of four to 12 years and a fine of 400,000 to 1,200,000 baht for seeking personal benefits from child prostitution according to Section 6 of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking.

At a nearby hotel, officers found six teenagers, the youngest was 16 years old, offering sex services to customers. They would be transferred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), where they would be interviewed and then sent to a children’s shelter for further mind-healing processes.

The Inspector of the DOPA, Ronnarong Thipsiri, underlined that human trafficking was a critical issue in Thailand that could negatively affect the country’s image and economy. The authority vowed to continue its efforts in suppressing human trafficking to upgrade the country in the US’s annual Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 1.

Patong bar raided for child prostitution, 6 teenagers rescued | News by Thaiger

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.