Escapee Tells of 300 Women Held as Sex Slaves in Casino Near Thailand-Myanmar Border

  • An unnamed woman escaped from a casino in Myanmar (Burma) on April 10
  • A social media influencer allegedly promised Thai women jobs at the casino
  • Once at the casino, women were told to pay ฿25,000 ($726) or become sex workers
  • The victim and another allegedly fled Burmese soldiers across a river to safety in Thailand
  • Thailand is mulling its first legal casino, with Bangkok a preferred location
People crossing the Moei river between Myanmar and Thailand
A Thai woman who swam across the Moei River (pictured) to escape a casino in Myanmar has said 300 women still remain there as captive sex slaves. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Victim wishes to remain anonymous

An escapee who wishes to remain anonymous has claimed there are nearly 300 Thai women who are being held as sex slaves at a casino near the Thailand-Myanmar border.

The Bangkok Post reported the 25-year-old woman’s ordeal on Saturday, after she had filed a complaint Thursday with the Royal Thai Police. According to her story, she escaped with another woman from the casino in the northeastern Myanmar town of Myawaddy late at night on April 10 while Burmese soldiers were changing guard.

influencer invited women to apply for PR and entertainment jobs at the casino

According to media reports, a social media influencer enticed the Thai women to the casino via Livestream earlier in 2022. The influencer invited women to apply for PR and entertainment jobs at the casino in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

However — along with around 300 other Thai women who accepted the jobs — the escapee was told to pony up ฿25,000 ($726) or become a sex worker.

Crossing a river to freedom

The unnamed woman and her accomplice allegedly escaped the casino and headed to the Thailand-Myanmar border. The Burmese soldiers, however, allegedly caught wind of the pair’s escape. While fleeing their pursuers, the woman yelled at Thai soldiers to help. The Thai soldiers told the women to swim across the Moie River, which divides Thailand and Myanmar, to their side of the border.

Thailand military personnel and Ekapop Lueangprasert, a Thai anti-trafficking activist, and his team took the two women into safety once they had made it across the river.

The Democratic Voice of Burma took to Twitter with a photo taken during the night of the river crossing:

The independent news source stated the two women had plotted their escape with Ekapop, who is reportedly working to rescue the remaining hundreds of women still held at the casino.

The Bangkok Post cites Royal Thai Police Major General Wiwat Khamchamnan, who is commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, as saying police are still questioning the woman before taking further action.

Trouble in Burma, hope in Thailand

According to a report by media source Thaiger, Myawaddy isn’t the only Burmese border town with an alleged illegal casino involved with sex trafficking. Thaiger cites the town of Tachilek, which is on the Thai border in Chiang Rai province, as hosting “illegal casinos and upscale brothels […] mostly serving Burmese military personnel.”

While the news on the Burma side of the border is dark, there’s hope in Thailand for woman seeking legitimate career opportunities in a legal casino industry. In late March, a special government committee instructed to investigate how a legal gambling industry could work in Thailand, identified Bangkok as an ideal location for the country’s first casino.