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Ms. Sudarat Sereewat and F.A.C.E. FACE Violate Ethics and Trust.
Ms. Sudarat Sereewat F.A.C.E FACE Abandons Ms. Meitinee Wongsa, Victim of Thai Traffickers, to Her Fate in Singapore Prison
A man from Singapore was faced with his fiance going to prison in Singapore. His fiance is an Akha woman, Ms. Meitinee Wongsa, who was arrested for illegally re-entering Singapore.
But from what we know of the case, Ms. Wongsa's story started when she was trafficked to Hatyai by Thai Brokers who ran a brothel there, who then trafficked her to Singapore in what was an obviously set up arrangement. The Singapore police sent Ms. Wongsa home, and banned her from re-entering the country. Unfortunately Ms. Wongsa could not speak Thai, Chinese or read or write at the time. Thus her re-entry to Singapore when she decided to marry her fiance who was from Singapore.
Her fiance publicized her unjust case and sought our help. While we began helping him, we also encouraged him to find help where he could and he contacted F.A.C.E in Thailand.
After some time there was some concern from the Thai side that more than one group was trying to help Ms. Wongsa, which we thought was kind of odd.
None the less, Ms. Sudarat Sereewat went with numerous others and interviewed Ms. Wongsa at the prison and got her story via an Akha translator. Much discussion was made of her plight, and her past wages, the brothel operator, etc. A report was taken.
After returning to Thailand, friends of Ms. Wongsa waited for the official report to be issued. There was no response. After many requests an unofficial report was issued, sufficient to show details but not what was really needed to persue the legalities of assisting Ms. Wongsa in Singapore.
After waiting weeks, numerous people began asking Ms. Sudarat Sereewat what exactly they were doing, why so much time was being lost, and why she had not released quickly the official version of the report?
No comment. Something about it not being done YET?
In fact, Ms. Sudarat had stated that there was nothing that she or F.A.C.E. could do about the case any more. Gee, what an interesting turn around. What could be the reason for this? Did someone tell Ms. Sudarat Sereewat not to rock the boat over just one Akha woman, after all, hundreds of them are trafficked every year in Thailand, lets not break up a Thai hobby. Or should we say, Thai National Pastime.
The brothel remained open, no one was arrested. We asked Ms. Sudarat Sereewat about this too. Not much of a response.
However, due to the great time lost, more than a month, and still no official report made available to those who continue to work on the case in Ms. Wongsa's behalf, we have decided it is time to make a statement.
We feel that it is not correct that Ms. Sudarat Sereewat, who works for a public NGO, F.A.C.E. and as a representative of F.A.C.E. should raise the hopes of Ms. Meitinee Wongsa and her friends and make great air, about what can be done, and having attended the prison with Thai staff from the Thai Embassy in Singapore, now fail to produce the official report of that meeting, which shows that Ms. Meitinee Wongsa is the victim of Thai trafficking which has put her in this situation that there is a ban on her coming to Singapore.
We are concerned that one, F.A.C.E. is listed on the UNESCO website about trafficking but has no credibility.
We are concerned that organizations must be funding F.A.C.E. to complete some kind of mandate, but F.A.C.E. apparently fails at that.
We believe that it is the most serious violation of ethics, that an agency which has a report that shows clearly that a person has been the victim of a crime, should withold that report from people who would continue to help the victim.
It is quite clear now why there is no serious action that can be trusted from Thailand on the issue of trafficking, and we do not agree that Thailand should be given credit for opposing trafficking. In fact we have clearly stated that it is the behaviour of F.A.C.E. that clearly defines the Thai committment. At the same time we have pointed out very clearly to F.A.C.E. that it is the very action of the Queen of Thailand, who seized 8500 rai of prime farmland, all the farmland they had, from the Akha village of Hooh Yoh that has put Akha women in the EXACT situation that Ms. Meitinee Wongsa finds herself.
We greatly renew our committment to make clear to the world what kind of a country Thailand is, how they treat the Akha, and that the Thai agencies which take public moneys to appear to fight such crimes as Thai trafficking of hilltribe women, is just that, so much FACE.
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