Trafficking route of Thai Women

Alliance Anti-Trafic (AAT)


Summary report

The mapping study on the travel route of Thai women falling victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in 5 countries

Full report in Thai click here: รายงานเส้นทางการเดินทางใน 5 ประเทศของหญิงไทยที่ตกเป็นเหยื่อขบวนการค้ามนุษย์ทางเพศ

The mapping study on the Travel route of Thai women falling victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in 5 countries is a qualitative mapping study. The objective of the mapping is to study the situation of cases of Thai women falling victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. According to the statistics of Trafficking Division, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, on Thai trafficked victims sending back from aboard during 2016-2018, there were 159 cases from 15 countries. Most of the cases were prostitution above 18 years old and the highest numbers of the victims found in 5 countries: Bahrain (53%), Oman (20%), Japan (13%), Malaysia (8%) and South Korea (6%). 

From those statistics, Alliance Anti Trafic (AAT) wants to study on the victims’ situation in those 5 countries to understand the whole cycle of trafficking process in order to be able to better prevent and protect the vulnerable women and children from sexual exploitation both in Thailand and in the destination countries.

The mapping study focus on the travel route in 5 target countries where high numbers of Thai victims were rescued and repatriated. The 4 main aspects for analysis included:

1) Factors contributed to decision making to go to destination countries

2) Travel route, brokers and job placement in destination countries

3) Working condition, income and living condition; and

4) Problems and difficulties in the destination.

The study found that the main factor contributing to decision making to leave for the destination is economic reason. They were unemployment or made low income while having many expenses in the family. So they wanted to work aboard with high expectation to earn better than in Thailand. Moreover, they trusted the people who persuaded them such as relatives, friends and job announcement in Face book or Line application. Some knew in advance or others may not know and were lured to prostitution in massage parlor or spa shop. Another important factor is the advanced travel cost paid by brokers, then pay back when working; which had quickened the decision of the women to travel aboard without reluctance.

For the travel route to the destination countries, most of them searched for a job through Facebook and also were suggested from other people like a snowball. Brokers both in Thailand and in destination countries coordinated the travel and controlled the Thai women. There are both male and female brokers, some women used to sell sex service and got married with the husband holding the nationality of that country.

Regarding working condition, income and living condition, most of them were restricted in the building. When they had to go out, a guard accompanied them. They lived their life without freedom and were forced to sell sex service everyday to pay debt. If they didn’t work, they would be beaten or deprived of food. They were often sexually abused by sadist clients or anal sex. Some of them had to look for clients on the street. Their income was from tip payment from the clients. Some of them didn’t get any payment because the brokers got all to deduct their debt. They were provided with meals but the food cost was also deducted from their income.       

Their problems and difficulties in the destination: majority of them got high amount of debt. Their passport was seized. Some of them were sexually abused and were forced to have anal sex. They had to work even during their period.  Some clients didn’t want to use condom; some of them got HIV positive. They were threatened of being thrown down from the building as in the news reported.

In addition, the trafficking of Thai women were also found in other countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as in other regions in the world, especially in the Middle East region.

The concerned issue from those trafficking problems was that some influential groups and some law enforcers have involved in the trafficking process and hiddenly supported that transnational sexual exploitation. This is very sensitive and dangerous issue. Strict measures had to be taken urgently to prevent those officials from misuse of power that contributed to the never ending transnational prostitution.