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Thailand: Child sex trafficking takes new forms such as using girls as entertainers to lure men into bars

Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation, South China Morning Post, Published on: 28 September 2019

"Inside the Thai bars where 'child entertainers' are trafficked and put to work", 25 September 2019

...While Thailand has ramped up efforts to tackle child sex trafficking in recent years, the crime is evolving and taking new forms such as the rising use of girls as "entertainers" to lure men into bars, according to police chiefs and campaigners.

The majority of patrons, child waitresses and bar owners do not see this work as abusive or unlawful, but officials say it is a type of human trafficking that has largely gone under the radar – and proved difficult to investigate and prosecute.

...Tens of thousands of people are thought to work in the sex trade that is illegal yet widely tolerated – most do so freely, others against their will – and activists say many are children.

...Thailand's anti-trafficking task force has been involved in a dozen child "entertainer" cases – most involving karaoke bars....

...Ratchapon Maneelek, a director at the government's anti-trafficking division, said it was tough to crack the crime as it was hard to identify compared to cases of child prostitution.

...The child sex trade in Thailand has evolved in recent years as men no longer meet children at brothels but first engage with them at karaoke bars, pubs or online, said Ketsanee Chantrakul, a programme manager at anti-trafficking charity ECPAT Foundation....

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