An average of 200 Thai women, forced into prostitution in Bahrain, escape their pimps and are sent back to Thailand each year, it was revealed.
Four Thai women who arrived home on Friday from Bahrain showing clear signs of physical and mental distress will undergo rehabilitation provided by the Pavena Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) who fights for the rights of children and women.
Two of the women were badly injured after jumping from a second floor flat in Hoora to escape a vice den, as reported earlier by the GDN. One woman has both legs in casts and the other suffered injuries to her back. The other women also said they escaped from their pimps and sought the assistance of the Thai Embassy last month.
All four women claimed that they were brought to Bahrain by recruiters with the promise of high paying jobs. The recruiters turned out to be pimps, who forced them into prostitution, having had to "service" at least five men each day. The woman behind Paveena Foundation, politician Paveena Hongsakula, co-ordinated the women's return. She said the Thai government was now providing immediate mental and vocational rehabilitation for the women and granted them 15,000 Baht to help them get back on their feet.
All four women and their relatives have reportedly also filed legal complaints with the Thai police against their alleged pimps, said Ms Hongsakula. Officials from the Thai Embassy in Bahrain were unavailable for comment yesterday, however, a spokesman earlier told the GDN that investigations were continuing into the women's individual cases. "It is the embassy's job to protect its citizens and we are very concerned about this problem involving the exploitation of Thai women," he said.
The embassy also said that authorities in Thailand were hoping to shatter a network of pimps who promise women good paying jobs in Bahrain, only to turn them into prostitutes after they arrive. The network is said to have grown so much that female pimps (known as "mamasans") from Thailand have already established themselves in Bahrain.
The embassy does not have a record of how many Thai women are being forced into prostitution in Bahrain, but the spokesman said it knew of some who were being kept by their pimps against their will. The GDN reported last month that the embassy was seeking more co-operation from officials in Bahrain and had written to the Interior Ministry requesting to be alerted every time one of its citizens was arrested.
Adapted from: "200 Thais fleeing pimps every year." - Gulf Daily News. 13 May 2007.
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