In a Facebook post featuring risqué photos of herself, a woman in Thailand publicly advertised pornographic videos and photos for sale. But these weren’t photos of herself—she was in fact pimping her 9-year-old daughter to men, filming it, and selling the recordings.
After members of the public alerted the police to her social media post, police showed up at the 25-year-old’s house in Sara Buri province, central Thailand, on Monday night. She was arrested for procuring a girl under 15 years old for sex work, colluding in the abuse of a minor, and possessing pornography—an illegal offense in Thailand.
Once a sex worker herself, the woman, identified in local reports only as Chantra, pimped her daughter on at least five occasions. She would charge between 2,000 and 5,000 baht for sex with the child, and 100 baht ($2.70) to 200 baht ($5.50) for the recordings, police told local media.
Chantra claimed that she had pimped out her daughter and sold the recordings as her family was poor, but police said they found around 100,000 baht ($2,740) in her bank account, most of which is believed to have come from selling her daughter and the tapes.
According to Chantra, the abuse started when a man contacted her on Facebook in April last year asking to have sex with her daughter for 3,000 baht ($82). She agreed, driving her daughter to a hotel in Nakhon Pathom province, near Bangkok, where she recorded the man having sex with her daughter. She then sold the video to other men on Facebook for 500 baht ($13.70) to 800 baht ($21.90).
On the road trip was Chantra’s husband, the girl’s stepfather, who claimed he had no idea what transpired on that day. He said Chantra had told him to wait at a nearby shopping mall while she said attended to a personal matter with her daughter. When they returned, the girl did not appear to be distressed and he had no suspicions, he said.
On Wednesday, the court approved a request by the police to detain Chantra and two other men for another 12 days. The two men, 58-year-old Chakhif Chuenchob and 33-year-old Thotsaphon Kaensawat, had allegedly paid for sex with the girl and currently face charges of colluding in child molestation, sexually abusing a child below 13 years old, and pornography possession.
Authorities are now broadening their investigation, looking for others who have had sex with Chantra’s daughter, bought her videos, or further disseminated them, warning that there will be legal consequences for these offenders.
Ilya Smirnoff, the executive director of the Childline Thailand Foundation, a Bangkok-based nonprofit organization that works with in-need children across the country, told VICE World News that the case is an egregious example of the widespread sexual violence faced by children in Thailand.
“It’s extreme because it’s done by the mother,” said Smirnoff. “But the problem is even though it’s extreme, it’s not the only case like that. It has happened in the past where mothers have been prostituting their daughters.”
In 2019, a mother was arrested in Thailand after she arranged for her 19-year-old mentally disabled daughter to sleep with men, before extorting them for money. A 2018 sting operation also found a teenage sex ring operating alongside a drug network in northeastern Thailand, where parents were found to have pimped their daughters out in exchange for methamphetamine pills. In 2015, another mother was charged for human trafficking after her 13-year-old daughter, whom she had pimped out 35 times, was found to be pregnant.
“It’s probably going to happen again because the preventative system, the reporting system, and the education system are not adequate enough to provide support to these children,” Smirnoff added.