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Following the publication last Friday (November 21) in The Phuket News of an investigation into underage prostitution among Rawai’s Sea Gypsies, Rawai Mayor Arun Soros has leapt into action.
He told The Phuket News yesterday (November 25) that after the publication of the report he had an initial meeting with the Provincial Volunteer group, representatives of the Tambon Health Promoting Hospital and Ngim Damrongkaset, the Sea Gypsies’ village leader, to see whether a stop-gap solution can be worked out until a big meeting to decide on a more permanent solution can be arranged.
“The community leader will send us more information about these matters. I also went to the village myself and got the pictures and name of children involved in prostitution and details of families that allow their children to go out begging. We will use this data soon, in a big meeting with other sections involved.”
He said that a lack of knowledge about birth control seems to be at the root of many of the problems in the Rawai Sea Gypsy community.
“We cannot blame just the kids in all cases. The village still lacks understanding about birth control. Many of the parents start having babies when they themselves are underage, around 15 years old.
“At that age, they are not old enough to care for their children responsibly, which leads to other problems.”
He said the Tambon Health Promoting Hospital officer had already contacted the Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office and is waiting for a response.
“It is the end of the year and the sections involved have many tasks. We will have the meeting as soon as possible.
“The temporarily solution for now is to monitor the children, to cut off the supply of drugs coming into the village, and to find work for the sea people.
“I have already brought 30 or 40 adults from the community to work for the Municipality,” he said.