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The Case of Ms. Meitinee Wongsa
June 9, 2007
We condemn Singapore for this injustice and the disregard for a victim of human trafficking.
Akha Woman Imprisoned in Singapore's
Changi Prison - Why Does Singapore Imprison the Victims of Trafficking?
Why Does Thailand Allow Akha Women To Be Trafficked?
The Imprisonment of Ms. Meitinee Wongsa. Changi Prison ID S12369. She is now to be transfered to Portsdown Prison.
We request her release!Now an interesting situation is coming to light in the case of Ms. Wongsa. It appears that Singapore "allows" women to come into the country to "solicit". They make no note of who they are or if they are trafficked from what we can tell. Apparently Singapore needs people to come into the country to meet the needs of Singapore men who can't get enough in their own country. And then when Singapore is done with these women, they send them home, or send them home early if they don't work out.
We Request She NOT Be Deported!
These women, such as Ms. Wongsa, are banned from coming back into the country like so much used up trash. Flush.
In this case an Akha woman, Ms. Wongsa, who was brought into the country in the name of a business woman in Hatyai, in order for that woman to make a profit, meets the definition of a person being trafficked. Ms. Wongsa did not come on her own. She saved that for later when she was a free woman.
We wait for someone in the police in Thailand to go and speak to this brothel owner about this. We can not explain why no one has gone to see this brothel owner, and why she can operate so freely in Thailand. Maybe some seem surprised, but in Chiangrai province alone the number of these houses that have women in various forms of debt bondage is quite without number. Thailand needs to come clean on this issue. The police need to be questioning the operations of this brothel owner. So far, all the burden has fallen on who Ms. Wongsa, the least likely person to have much control of anything.
It seems rather high moral ground, that Singapore uses up these women, how ever they get into the country, and then sends them out, and will criminalize them if they come back. What Singapore has used and "degraded", is no longer welcome, thank you.
Therefore, the case of Ms. Wongsa does NOT clarify for us how Singapore fights injustice and opposes trafficking.
Obviously, Ms. Wongsa did not make up the fake travel documents. Apparently the brothel owner in Hatyai did. Maybe Singapore could pressure the Thai government to arrest this woman for being a trafficker, but then of course the women who are badly needed in Singapore might quit coming.
The Brothel and Trafficker:
We call on the Thai Police to arrest this trafficker.
Picture of the front of the New Rose Brothel in Hatyai.
How is it that the Singapore Police are so inefficient to find this information, when we are able to find out exactly what brothel and the woman who trafficked Ms. Wongsa into Singapore?
How many Akha women are in Changi Prison?
We request to know, how ICA knows she came into the country, if they do not have a record from Anti Vice, and if they have a record with Anti Vice, then they know who Ms. Wongsa was sent to in order to get her permit for "work" in Singapore. Those are the individuals who have contacts with the trafficking agents. ICA is not being honest about this case.
ICA said that Ms. Wongsa applied to solicit legally in singapore through AVB. AVB rejected her application and recommend to ICA to ban her from entering singapore in the future. Ms. Wongsa was directed to go to Anti Vice and apply, through prior arrangement. Why she was rejected is unknown at this time, but Anti Vice is certainly aware of the particulars.
At the time that Ms. Wongsa entered Singapore, she could not speak Thai, or any other language but Akha, could not read or write. Certainly the arrangements have been made between Hatyai and Anti Vice.
We are concerned that the government of Singapore does not recognize the issue of trafficking and that Akha women are trafficked into their country for brothels. The Singapore Immigration people (ICA) have repeatedly told us that they are "checking into the case" but then never reply to our email.
Does Singapore arrest victims of trafficking? We find it disgusting that Singapore allows women to be trafficked into the country for what ever reasons. We find it more disgusting that they put the victims in prison.
Ms. Wongsa was sentenced to one year in Changi Prison this last week.
Upon her previous trip and return to Thailand, her employer told her that the Singapore police demanded 100,000 baht and she was made to repay this money working in Hatyai.
When Akha children are born, Thai authorities often give them a Thai name on their travel documents and any made up birth date. Employers often supply the Akha with documents for travel, as they may not even have an ID card of their own. These are the agreements they have to live with as contract labor. In some cases, contract labor may be more like trafficking or debt bondage. While it appears that Ms. Wongsa's employer was familiar to the Singapore police, Ms. Wongsa is being made to pay the price for what is often standard practice for people being shipped from Thailand to foreign countries.
There is little to no protection for ethnic women who find themselves in this situation in Thailand.
We have contacted the Singapore Embassy and Ambassador in the US, the ICA in Singapore, an MP in Singapore, Amnesty International and a number of individuals and agencies regarding this case. We are asking that her case be reviewed and that Akha women are not made to pay the price for either trafficking or unethical Agents who put them in these situations. We are asking that she be released and NOT deported from Singapore.
Please contact the Singapore Embassy regarding this case.
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