[Stop-traffic] News/THAILAND: 6,000 THAI WOMEN RESCUED FROM ABROAD.

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/THAILAND: 6,000 THAI WOMEN RESCUED FROM ABROAD.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Dec 27 2000 - 11:41:03 EST


30/Nov/00 THAILAND: 6,000 THAI WOMEN RESCUED FROM ABROAD.
MORE than 100 Thai sex workers have died in foreign countries and about
6,000 have been rescued over the past few years, Consular Affairs
Department director-general Chaisiri Anaman revealed yesterday.
Most of the dead had succumbed to Aids.
The number of Thai sex workers in Japan had been cut because of the
country's stringent regulations, Chaisiri said.
But there had seen a significant increase in the number of Thai sex workers
in South Africa - about 10 times more than the number three years ago. The
increase has been blamed on the fact visas aren't needed to enter South
Africa.
In countries where visas are required, many sex workers used false
passports and visas, Chaisiri said.
Among the 6,000 women rescued last year, some were deceived with promises
of high-income jobs then assaulted and forced to work in sweatshops or
undertake illegal activities.
Chaisiri was speaking at the funeral of four Thais who died of Aids at Wat
Phrasimahathat. The victims' relatives failed to claim their bodies.
The consumer affairs chief said the country most popular among Thai workers
was Taiwan, where the number of Thais has reached 150,000.
Many Thais work there illegally because Taiwan bans foreign workers from
returning to work after their first contract expires. Many workers,
intending to return to Taiwan, change their names or falsify their
passports to re-enter the country.
Chaisiri warned workers against such malpractice saying it would be
difficult for the Thai Embassy in Taiwan to help them or contact their
relatives if they fell sick or faced problems.
He said relatives of people who died abroad did not claim the bodies out of
fear they would have to shoulder medical and other expenses paid for by the
Thai Embassy.
Chaisiri urged relatives to claim the bodies for funeral service, saying
the government would allow them time to repay any costs.
He urged Thai workers who want to work in foreign countries to check with
the Foreign and Labour Ministries that the agencies hiring them are legal
entities.
Malaysia and Singapore also had a large number of Thais working illegally,
he said.
(c) 2000 Nation Multimedia Group Public Co., Ltd.
THE NATION (BANGKOK) 30/11/2000
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