Rights groups call for prosecution of police officers allegedly involved in Mae Hong Son child-sex scandal

Human rights advocates have called for the prosecution of police officers, public servants, and others accused of buying sex from underage prostitutes in northern Thailand.

On 16 November 2017, Ticha na Nakorn, the director of Baan Kanjanapisek Juvenile Vocational Training Centre, Supensri Pungkoksung, Director of the Gender Equality Promotion Centre and the One Stop Crisis Centre, and representatives of other human rights advocacy groups submitted a letter to Khemchai Chutiwongse, the new Attorney General.

The letter demands that the Attorney General indict a number of police officers and state officials accused of buying sex from underage prostitutes in the northern province of Mae Hong Son after it was reported that the provincial prosecutor dropped the charges.

Nine police officers have been sacked for being allegedly involved in the scandal, including three accused of gang-rape, while a local politician from Nonthaburi province north-west of Bangkok confessed to the crime, which made headlines when the story broke in April.

Ticha said that she was informed by a high ranking officer of Police Region 5 that the provincial prosecutor has dropped the charges.

She said that many civil society groups have been following the case and that the Office of the Attorney General must make sure that those who were involved the scandal are prosecuted.  

The group stated that enforcement of the 1996 Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act has never been able to solve the problem of child prostitution in Thailand because the buyers are almost never prosecuted.

Ticha na Nakorn (centre) reading the joint statement of the group at the Office of the Attorney General on 16 November 2017

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