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Udon Thani karaoke bar raided for underage human trafficking

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Police in Udon Thani raided a popular karaoke bar yesterday, uncovering a human trafficking operation involving underage girls. The raid, which took place at 10pm, on June 20, revealed a ledger containing customer names and a significant number of unused condoms.

Governor Wanchai Kongkasem directed the operation, coordinating with Vimol Surasen, the district chief, along with police officers from Udon Thani city. The team targeted a bar in the bustling Sampanmitr area, known for its numerous bars catering to foreigners. Tourists were reportedly shocked by the sudden raid.

During the investigation, officials found 10 women in the establishment. Among them were three underage girls: two were 16 years old, and one was 18 years old but had been working there since she was 16. These young women were primarily serving foreign customers.

The police decided to escort the girls for further processing, including interviews and screenings by a multidisciplinary team. They will be sent to a children’s shelter for psychological rehabilitation due to their status as human trafficking victims. In addition to the unused condoms, the investigation uncovered the bar’s income records and customer lists.

The establishment lacked the required operational licence per the 1966 Service Place Act. Although it operated as a karaoke bar, it clandestinely employed underage girls for sexual services, qualifying as human trafficking.

Charges were filed against the bar for human trafficking (sexual exploitation of minors), operating without a licence, and violating orders from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) regarding the prevention and resolution of street racing and control of service establishments.

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Local administrative officials and the Rights Protection Foundation investigated and confirmed that the establishment was indeed a front for a service place exploiting minors. The bar’s staff were often girls facing family issues, like divorced parents, leading to a lack of supervision and financial support. Most customers were middle-aged Thai men and foreign tourists with disturbing preferences, reported KhaoSod.

The public is urged to report any signs of human trafficking. Reports can be made to the Rights Protection Foundation or the Damrongtham Centre at the district, provincial, or Ministry of Interior level via the hotline 1567.

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