Two individuals, a British man and a Thai woman, have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in Pattaya on April 5. Police raided the Flirt Bar, located on the infamous Soi 6 road, notorious for sex bars, prostitutes and the customers that exploit them. The raid resulted in the arrest of William Reece, a British citizen, and Jaranya Deeppair, a Thai citizen.
Video of the raid shows several young women being taken into custody for questioning. Mr. Reece was led into the police station, apparently handcuffed. Police officers confirmed that the British man had arrest warrants issued against him on April 4 for allegedly conspiring to commit human trafficking.
The story was originally reported by UK publication Daily Mail.
The charges relate to young women who were being transported from impoverished areas in the rural northeast of Thailand to the sex industry to serve tourists. They webe paid roughly 1,500 Baht for sex services. Pattaya police say that the arrest was made to enhance the tourist industry’s confidence in Pattaya.
The police invited the employees of the store to provide statements at the police station. The accused were remanded in police custody as they await further legal proceedings.
Pattaya’s Nightwish Group is believed to own the bar.
“The Night Wish Group is the largest operators of bars and gentlemens’ clubs in Pattaya. At the time of writing they have 28 bars – 4 on Soi Chaiyapoon, 2 on Soi Bongkoch and the rest all on Soi 6.”
A spokesperson for the Nightwish Group that they “often see these raids taking place in Thailand”, and they are “pleased to work with the local police”. The group says they maintain high standards, and police confirmed that no illegal substances were found in the bar, and nobody under 18 was present during the time of the raid.
Successive governments in Thailand, and a revolving door or police chiefs, have been trying to clean up Pattaya for several years, dubbed the “sex capital” of the world. They are working to remove badly behaving tourists and turn the region into a family-friendly resort to tap into the lucrative family markets in China, India and Russia.
But they face an uphill struggle against the 24-hour sex industry and endemic corruption that allows it to continue. The bars, massage parlours and sex workers are also a, locally, lucrative part of Thailand’s tourism industry.