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Punter rescues 29-year-old Thai trafficking victim from UK brothel

by on February 8, 2009

"Enter a punter, exit a rapist"AS PARLIAMENT debates how to criminalise clients of trafficking victims and others ‘controlled for gain’ in prostitution, a Crown Court case last week has further revealed the stupidity of the Home Office plan.

A 29-year-old Thai mother of two was rescued from a life of misery in a Plymouth brothel and taken to the police by a punter, who would have faced a £1,000 fine for his trouble if the planned law was in effect.

Six Malaysian and Thai nationals have so far been put away for a total of 17 and a half years for the human trafficking case, with another two facing sentencing on February 17.


As the Plymouth Herald reported of the victim:

Ordered to service one more [punter]…she took a risk and begged the client, a Danish man known in court as Mr K, to rescue her using a mixture of Thai and sign language to explain she had been trafficked into prostitution.

 He had left, spoke to his ex-wife who was visiting Plymouth and together they hatched a plan. He called back the next day, claimed he was a police officer and grabbed the woman. He and his ex-wife then used a electronic translation machine, typing in the question “prisoner?” which when shown in Thai caused [the victim] to break down sobbing.

Judge [Francis] Gilbert said Mr K’s conduct was to be “highly commended” and investigators said it was his bravery which not only saw [the victim] freed from sexual slavery, but also lit the fuse which saw those involved in the evil trade brought to justice.

[UPDATE February 17 – the two fellow defendents were jailed for nine and a half years between them.] 

It is only the latest of many such cases revealing the crucial role of clients in aiding trafficking victims – a role played despite everything the Home Office can do to prevent them – witness the department’s “Walk in a punter, walk out a rapist” posters, inferring (wrongly) that a client is a rapist if the woman he has a liaison with subsequently turns out to be a trafficking victim.


Since my memorandum to the Parliamentary committee scrutinising the proposed Bill, the Poppy Project (which rescues and cares for sex trafficking victims in London) has revealed to the Committee that even it itself has received 22 referrals from punters. This must have been like pulling teeth, as the Project is renowned for its enthusiasm to see punters behind bars.


Denise Marshall, Poppy’s CEO, said 

Interestingly, in the time we have run the POPPY project, we have had 22 referrals from punters—from those buying sex from trafficked women. They made the referrals because the women were in an obvious physical and emotional state of distress. That sounds good on the surface until you realise that all the 22 men had sex with the trafficked woman before they phoned us. These are trafficked women whom we have taken into our projects and whom have given evidence to us in statements. All those men, knowing the women were trafficked, had sex before phoning us to help the women to get out of their situation.

This sudden remarkable turn around in the state of the Project’s records should not go unnoticed. Only last August it published Routes in, Routes Out based on the case files of 118 carefully selected women it had helped. Paragraph 5.4 has a table that reveals that it then had no idea how some 26 of these women escaped their captors. Nine of the 118 were known to have escaped with the aid of punters, who also may or may not have provided the initial intelligence  responsible for a score of other women escaping through police raids.


Suddenly, five months later, Poppy can now reveal to the committee of MPs not only that 22 women escaped with the help of punters, but that in each and every case the punter had sex with the women, not only before saving them, but after knowing they were trafficked. A veritable revolution in record keeping appears to have taken place.


All those men, knowing the women were trafficked, had sex before phoning us to help the women to get out of their situation.”


Really? Hmmm….

  1. Glen Parry permalink

    Now come on Stephen, we have the (not very) honorable member for Slough telling Parliament this never happens & Poppy Project telling the Policng & Crime Bill Comittee that such only happen after rape has taken place.

    Now, who would you believe to pop outside & then tell you what the weather’s doing?

    I’m damned sure I know.


  2. Stephen Paterson permalink

    Indeed, Glen. The not so honourable member for Slough has changed her tune. She told the Daily Mirror on January 18, 2006L “Men who encounter a woman they think has been trafficked commonly report it.

    “I think the reason is because men don’t think what has happened to the woman is right, even if they think using prostitutes is right and something they are prepared to do.”

    Of course, she was a minister then, not one of the dispossessed desperately trying to make all the right noises for reappointment.

  3. punterthoughts permalink

    Reblogged this on thoughtsofapunter and commented:
    Evidence of punters reporting cases of women who have been forced into prostitution leading to their rescue.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Poppy’s strange records improvement « An Anthology of English Pros
  2. SEX TRAFFICKING: the highs and lows of raids and rescue « An Anthology of English Pros

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