Thai jailed six years for forced prostitution ring

A Swiss court has sentenced a Thai woman to six and a half years behind bars for her role in a forced prostitution ring, in one of Switzerland's biggest ever human trafficking cases.

The regional Bern court on Friday ruled that the 43-year-old, whose name was not released, was guilty of human trafficking and incitement to prostitution after her network imported around 50 Thai women and men and forced them to sell sex in several Swiss cities, the ATS news agency reported.
The network, which was active between 2008 and 2011 in six Swiss cantons, was at the heart of one of the country's biggest human trafficking cases ever, according to the court.
The woman, a Thai national with a Swiss residence permit, was arrested in 2011 in Germany before being extradited to Switzerland.
When she was arrested, she was carrying documents including identity papers belonging to the victims, Swiss police said last October.
The court said on Friday that it believed the woman's claim that she was just a pawn in a vast network operating out of Thailand, but said that did not diminish her guilt.
In addition to heading the network of brothels, she reportedly personally ran one in Müllheim in the northern canton of Thurgau.
Police dismantled the network after a Thai woman told Bern authorities she was being held against her will and forced into prostitution at a brothel in the Swiss capital.
Seven people stand accused for their roles in the network.
The madame in the Bern brothel has already been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, ATS reported, and the ringleader's Swiss husband received a partially suspended sentence of two and a half years from the Bern court Friday.
Most of the victims came from poverty in Thailand and many knew they would work as prostitutes in Switzerland, police said, but the massive fees the network charged to get them to the country and to work in its brothels basically forced them to became sex slaves.
Each prostitute had to earn at least 60,000 francs ($64,465), before being able to pay down their debt and actually pocket some of the money they made themselves, according to police.
The Bern court pointed out Friday that the ringleader had raked in nearly 1.8 million francs in less than four years.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Geneva police raid sex parlours over ‘tax fraud’

Geneva cantonal police raided eight erotic massage parlours on Tuesday for an investigation into tax fraud allegedly amounting to several million francs.

Geneva police raid sex parlours over 'tax fraud'
Photo: Joshua Rindner

Police said the parlours are all owned by the same individual.

Le Matin reported online that the establishments are the Geneva-Girls salons and "villas" owned by a person of Hungarian origin.

The raids followed “a bundle of evidence and information analysed these last months by tax authorities in Bern and Geneva in cooperation with the Geneva police vice squad,” cantonal police said in a news release.

This made the suspicion of tax fraud contraventions “likely”, said the release issued in conjunction with the Geneva tax collection administration.

Estimates indicated an evasion of taxes of “several million francs”, the authorities said.

Geneva-Girls advertises its various salons online, promising such hard core services as “sodomy”, “domination”, “fellatio” and “fisting” offered by 60 to 70 "hosteses".

The site, with photos of its topless or skimpily clad "girls", says customers can “make love for 100 francs” or benefit from other services such as a half-hour “Lesbos” show for 400 francs and escort services starting at 450 francs.

Federal and cantonal tax collectors made “significant seizures” from the sex parlours, police said.

This material will be the subject of detailed examination by the tax authorities, according to the statement.

The police vice squad will conducting additional investigations of its own into the affair.

American gangster Al Capone also came a cropper over tax fraud, an unnamed source told Le Matin, who called into question the working conditions for the women working in the sex parlours, most of them originally from Hungary.

Police declined to comment further on the case. 

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, although it is regulated, while street prostitution is banned except in certain specified red light districts in major cities.