11 July 2024

The deputy director-general of the Department of Children and Youth has been transferred from the post, pending the outcome of an investigation into an allegation that he interfered with a police probe into a human trafficking ring, which was forcing underage girls into prostitution.

The official has been accused of phoning the supervisor of the shelter to instruct him to convince the girls not to testify against some of the suspects, several of whom are local officials, teachers, army officers, former politicians, medical personnel as well as the head of a savings cooperative.

Social Development and Human Security Permanent Secretary Patcharee Arayakul said today (Friday) that the transfer of the official to an inactive post within the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security does not mean that he loses his post.

She said that she has already sent her officials to the southern province of Surat Thani to collect information about the alleged prostitution racket and the alleged involvement of officials of the department.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Juti Krairiksh said today that case dates back to last December and an investigation lasted until April, when police managed to obtain testimonies from nine alleged victims.

He insisted that the investigation has been undertaken quietly, because the ministry wants to protect the rights of the underage girls.

The minister also said he had instructed inspectors-general of six regions to visit youth shelters across the country to make sure that the young residents are not sexually abused.