Bangkok: Thai authorities freed 71 women and girls who had been lured into selling sex in massage parlours and karaoke bars, police said, after a crackdown on human trafficking on the Malaysian border.
Thirteen of those discovered were girls under the age of 18, said Lieutenant Colonel Noppadon Petsut, deputy commander of police in Sadao district of Songkhla province, where the operation was carried out on Friday.
"The operation followed complaints by the Laotian embassy in Bangkok," he said, adding that 70 of the young women were Laotian and one was from Myanmar.
A Singaporean man, a Malaysian man and a Thai woman were charged with human trafficking and illegally procuring sex, Noppadon said.
"Charges of human trafficking are very serious and carry a maximum sentence of the death penalty," he said.
Police freed 59 women from a karaoke bar and another 12 from a spa near a Thai-Malaysian border checkpoint.
Another officer involved in the raid said it was believed that the women and girls were sold to the suspects by brokers and later forced to work as prostitutes.
The operation was conducted by the Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Social Welfare and Human Security officials and local police.