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Forty-four Lao women, some of whom aged only 15, were rounded up at seven karaoke bars which serve as a front for prostitution along the Thai-Lao border in Khong Chiam district of Ubon Ratchathani Wednesday night.
Mr Narong Thipsiri, director of the investigation and legal office of Local Administration Department, noted that documents seized from the women showed that they were over 18 but, physically, several of them appeared to be aged between 15-17.
He warned that operators of the karaoke bars which hired underaged Lao women could face charges of human trafficking and liable to heavier punishment.
It was reported that 14 of the women who appear to be less than 18 year-old were separated from the rest and sent to Sappasitprasong hospital to determine their exact ages.
The raiding party has found notes at one of the bars showing bribes being paid by the operator to several officials in Khong Chiam district, said Mr Narong, adding that the documents would be sent to the government’s anti-corruption committee for an investigation.