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Australian police detain five Thai nationals involved in human trafficking

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Human trafficking from Thailand to Australia’s capital city, Canberra, is under investigation after raids on Fyshwick brothels (massage parlours) this week.

An Thai-Australian woman has been charged and five Thai nationals detained over immigration offences as a result of simultaneous raids on ‘escort agencies’ in Fyshwick, Canberra, this week.

The Canberra Times has reported that a Canberra court has heard one witness reported being subject to a $50,000 debt which she was being forced to ‘pay back’ by providing sex services to customers.

Five sex industry businesses at two premises were forced to cease trading when WorkSafe ACT (Australian Capital Territory) issued prohibition notices after the raids.

57 year old Jamaree Suksom of Dickson was refused bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday when she appeared on charges of allowing unlawful non-citizens to work and allowing a non-citizen to work in breach of a visa. She has not yet entered any pleas.

Court documents reveal that authorities raided Pink Girls and Chok Dee Massage about 6.15am on Monday, when they discovered five Thai nationals who had been working illegally in Australia.

The documents also claimed the Pink Girls premises had been “unhygienic and in a state of disrepair”.

Checks on some of the women found working on the premises revealed they had held either current or expired student or tourism visas, and did not have the right to work. One woman’s student visa had expired in September 2015.

Suksom allegedly told police she did not conduct checks into the immigration status of workers or inspect passports, and did not recruit the women.

Court documents said police seized items of interest in relation to “potential future human trafficking and/or forced labor offences”.

Suksom applied for bail, but the application was opposed by Commonwealth prosecutor Edward Chen on the grounds she could interfere with witnesses or evidence, commit further offences, and posed a flight risk.

Mr Chen said the investigation was still in its early stages and the accused could seek to inhibit the integrity of the case. He said further charges could be laid as evidence collected had pointed to trafficking from Thailand.

Mr Chen also told the court the accused had links to four brothels – two of which had been shut down – which he alleged were her only means to support herself.

He argued that, if released, she would seek income via exploitation. In response, the defence argued Suksom could rely on family in the ACT for financial support.

Multi-agency search warrants in Fyshwick

Yesterday, ACT Policing with the assistance of Australian Border Force (ABF) officers and Worksafe ACT inspectors, executed multiple simultaneous search warrants at escort agencies and private premises in Fyshwick. As a result of the multi-agency investigation, ACT Policing arrested a 57-year-old woman and five women were detained by ABF for immigration offences. Two premises were forced to cease trading after Worksafe ACT issued prohibition notices.The search warrants were a result of information received from the public.For more information visit: goo.gl/eTgwxZ

Posted by ACT Policing on Monday, July 23, 2018

VIDEO: ACT Policing

Read the rest of the story below…

SOURCE: The Canberra Times

 

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Myanmar

17 year old Burmese teenager details abuse at the hands of junta

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

A 17 year old Burmese teenager has spoken about her time behind bars at the hands of the Myanmar junta. Ma Chaw says she and her mother were arrested on April 14 in Rangoon as they were walking to a friend’s house from a morning protest. She says they were stopped by the military who jumped out of 2 security trucks and forced them to crouch on the ground face down.

Ma says she was kicked in the groin and was threatened with sexual violence as she spent 6 days in detention along with other women who were allegedly tortured and abused by the police. She says a police officer molested her during an interrogation session in which she pushed his hand away as he threatened her life. She says her mother was slapped 2 times while being interrogated.

Before Ma was released on April 20, she had to sign a document stating the opposite of what was true: that no one tortured her behind bars.

“It’s the opposite of what they have done. It is totally unacceptable and unfair.”

Her mother, however, was not released but transferred to Rangoon’s Insein prison. Ma says she is worried for her mother’s life and that her mother is her only family. Ma says other prisoners were beaten so badly that they could hardly eat or talk. An underground group of ousted lawmakers who oppose the junta has announced it is investigating the “allegations of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in unlawful detention.” In a statement it said:

“These cases are indicative of the wider pattern of sexual and gender-based violence committed by Myanmar’s military that has persisted for years with impunity, particularly against ethnic minority women and girls in armed conflict areas.”

Local monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says more than 3,800 civilians have been arrested and are behind bars since the coup on February 1.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Protests

Burmese military declares martial law in border city after attack

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PHOTO: Military imposed martial law in Mindat city after protests and attacks. (via Bloomberg)

After blaming attacks on a bank and a police station on armed terrorist the Burmese military Junta has declared martial law in the town of Mindat in Chin State. Ethnic rebels have been increasingly battling the military in these border regions – the Chin State borders India – and about 100 people were reported over the last 2 days to have launched an attack on the police station using homemade guns while 50 more people sieged the Myanmar Economic Bank.

State media reported that Burmese military forces quashed the attacks that lead to the martial law declaration without sustaining any casualties, though international news outlets have been unable to confirm any details. Local media aligning against the junta claim that the skirmishes erupted after the Burmese military broke a deal to release 7 recently detained protesters, and claimed that the martial law was invalid. a new militia called the Chinland Defense Force claimed responsibility for the attacks and supported the local media account of events.

That militia say that one of their members was killed in the confrontation and that the military has called in reinforcements. They claim that the junta is losing power in rural areas and can only maintain strongholds in the cities they have military bases in. The martial law declaration comes as the Burmese military continues to try to maintain control amidst daily protests in major cities and violent conflict in border states since their February 1 coup.

The People’s Defence Forces, a group formed last week by the National Unity Government of leaders deposed in the coup, have been working to coalesce support against a common enemy between the protesters in cities and ethnic insurgents who have long fought the oppressive military. These insurgents have assassinated junta leaders and clashed frequently with Burmese military security forces in attacks like the one leading to martial law today.

Still, Pro-democracy demonstrators marched through Yangon today, with videos surfacing on social media showing their defiant chant, “we believe that we gonna win, we must win, we must win”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos

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Photo via Facebook/Australia in Laos

To help the mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos, the Australian government is providing a 15.2 million AUD grant to cover around 1 million vaccine doses in the Southeast Asian country. The grant also covers training for healthcare workers on how to safely administer the vaccines.

Laos reported a spike in cases over the past month, after a year of containing the spread of the virus with active cases remaining under 20. Yesterday, Laos reported 1,088 active cases, a sharp increase after months of just a few active Covid-19 cases at a time.

Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly, says the Australian government is “pleased to be able to support the people of Laos in a time of need.”

“Ensuring Laos has access to safe and effective vaccines is a major and immediate priority for the Australian government… We recognise that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Our support will vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Lao people as well as support long term health security. Australia has been a long-standing and trusted partner for Laos over the past 69 years.”

Laos Vice President Pany Yathotou says the grant from Australia is a significant contribution to ensures the efficient rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos. Most of the funds will be used to purchase the doses and to help Laos distribute and administer vaccines. It will also support a public information campaign, spreading facts about vaccines and also translating the information to ethnic languages.

The Australian Embassy says the country also contributed to the multilateral COVAX facility which covers free vaccinations for more than 20% of the Laos population.

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 12 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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