Acting on intelligence provided by The Exodus Road operatives, Thai law enforcement raid a motel room. Three survivors were freed from exploitation in Operation Shadow.
On sidestreets at dusk in Thailand, the shadows fall from the eaves of low-hanging roofs. Usually, those shadows obscure the colors of the paint and the shape of the doorway. Sometimes, they obscure something more.
The Exodus Road’s investigators joined police on three different streets like this one week in early summer. They went to three different motels, each with bright, garish decor that belied the darkness within their walls.
These excursions into the shadows began days earlier, with some strategic social media investigation.
“Having a sex job to make money for study, always available,” one post read on Twitter.
Another Twitter account featured the advertisement, “leave your wife to see me, if yes contact me.”
These are the kinds of posts that propel The Exodus Road’s Thailand team into immediate action. Going undercover to communicate with the faceless digital traffickers who were selling these teenagers, they gathered all of the evidence they could.
The trail led investigators and police officers into the dim entryways of three different motel rooms on three separate nights. In each room, they found a teenage girl, alone and afraid. One of the girls was 17. The other two were only 16.
Police reassured the girls that they weren’t in trouble and invited them to share the truth about what had happened to them. Each of the teenagers was then entrusted to government aftercare services.
Meanwhile, police were able to track down one of the traffickers in the karaoke bar she had been operating out of. She was taken into custody.
But the traffickers who had been advertising the other two girls were cunning and cautious. They’d sent the girls to meet customers at the motels entirely alone in order to protect themselves. Then, they melted back into digital anonymity.
But police won’t stop. With the additional evidence from the survivors’ testimonies, they will continue pursuing the two traffickers who escaped until they are brought to justice.
Venturing into the shadowed places of the world is not easy work, but it’s worth it because of the teenagers like these girls who are spending their lives in the dark. Thank you for being a part of fueling the light of freedom!