Gangs turn to social media for luring women into sex trade (Article of Bangkok Post, on 4 Oct 2015 at 01:26 NEWSPAPER SECTION: SPECTRUM | WRITER: JEERAWAT NA THALANG)
The latest recruiting ground for drawing young victims into forced prostitution is online, and authorities are struggling to keep up. Last year, a Chinese Malay man known as “Alex Gecko” was traveling in the northern provinces, buying geckos from locals. He claimed he could resell the lizards at high prices in Malaysia. Alex presented himself as a successful businessman, showing villagers his Facebook page loaded with images of what he said was his restaurant in Malaysia. The photos showed smiling customers and polite waitresses; apparently, they were convincing. Many of the locals gladly accepted Alex’s invitation to befriend him on Facebook, as he promised to keep them updated with news of his business and employment opportunities. “The Facebook page looked credible. Mr Alex seemed to be a rich man and a nice person,” said Chaleerat Timbut, a programme coordinator at Alliance Anti-Trafic (AAT), a non-profit organisation working on human trafficking issues. Some of those who became friends with Alex were soon offered jobs at the restaurant and were asked to tag their friends who may also be interested in working abroad. But Alex was interested only in employing teenage girls and the reason soon became clear: what awaited those who accepted his offer was not work, but sexual slavery. SETTING THE TRAP When one of the women who accepted Alex’s offer of a job in Malaysia fell out of contact with her friends and family, her older sister became worried. She contacted the Friends of Women Foundation, which, suspecting something sinister was at play, turned to AAT to help track the girl down. Read full story at: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/special-reports/716908/gangs-turn-to-social-media-for-luring-women-into-sex-trade. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.