Thailand has requested assistance from authorities in Laos to rescue a number of Thai nationals who have become trapped in Bokeo Province.
Bangkok Post reports that the Governor of Chiang Rai Province, Phassakorn Boonyalak, announced on Saturday that he had requested assistance from the Governor of the Lao province of Bokeo, where the Thais are located.
According to reports, the Thai nationals were smuggled across the Mekong River to work in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bokeo Province earlier this year.
Upon arrival, they found that they had been deceived into working for a skimming operation.
“When problems arose, they contacted their relatives or NGOs to seek help from Thai authorities,” Governor Phassakorn told the media.
Some 15 Thais aged between 20 and 30 contacted their relatives back home to seek an immediate return to Thailand.
Eleven of them managed to escape their employers, relating their ordeals when arriving home in Thailand.
They told Thai authorities that they had been forced to work 15 hours a day, while their living quarters were enclosed with electrical wires to prevent them from escaping.
Four of them remain in the SEZ, according to sources.
While many of them had been employed in the tourism industry prior to Covid-19, they said they had decided to try working in Laos because of an attractive job offer.
The returnees said they were offered BHT 30,000 per month to work as Facebook page admins, however, when they arrived, they were forced to create fake Facebook profiles and find victims to scam.