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26 Mar, 2014

Sex Trafficking Victims Go Unnoticed in Laos | The Diplomat

VIENTIANE – Like many girls in Laos, where almost one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, Vahn* was desperate to earn money for her family. This made her a prime target for sex traffickers.

As an uneducated 15-year old, Vahn said she was convinced by her stepsister to work at a farm in central Thailand. But she ended up at a Thai brothel, where she was forced to have sex with a client who paid to take her virginity.

Vahn’s story is not unique. Laos, a landlocked, communist state with one of the worst poverty rates in Southeast Asia, is a prime source for Thailand’s flourishing sex trafficking rings. Around 90 percent of Lao trafficking victims are transported to Thailand, the majority of them 12- to 18-year-old girls who are coerced into the sex trade.

“Whenever I sleep I can’t stop thinking about it,” Vahn told The Diplomat. “and I have nightmares.”

Read the rest: Sex Trafficking Victims Go Unnoticed in Laos | The Diplomat.