zaterdag 31 juli 2010

Joran Van Der Sloot Investigated for Trafficking Thai Women

Joran Van der Sloot, the 22-year-old Dutch playboy who is the main suspect in the high profile murders of Natalie Holloway and Stephany Flores already has the governments of the U.S., Aruba, and Peru pretty livid. But now, he can add Thailand to that list, as Thai authorities are currently investigating him for being part of a human trafficking ring. And if Van der Sloot really did lead a trafficking ring, it's possible he has claimed other, unknown victims.

After escaping the first round of charges for Natalie Holloway's murder/disappearance in 2008, Van der Sloot allegedly fled to Thailand. There, he adopted an alias and began telling young women he was a production assistant for a modeling company. He offered them modeling work in Europe with his company, a company that did not exist. He convinced several young women to travel to Europe this way. Some of them came back to Thailand, their modeling dreams unfulfilled. Some were never heard from again. Did the women Van der Sloot send from Thailand to Europe end up in the sex industry? Police are still uncertain, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time a fake modeling offer was used as a cover for human trafficking.

If Van der Sloot really is a serial killer or violent sociopath, as some have theorized, then his involvement in a human trafficking ring may mean Holloway and Flores were not his only victims. Trafficked women are often estranged from families and friends (either before or as a result of the trafficking), making them easier to abuse. That also makes it easier for them to disapear. Natalie Holloway and Stephany Flores were both young women from families of means with strong connections, who have made sure their murders are investigated. But if ten poor Thai women take modeling contracts in Europe and only nine make it there, fewer people will notice. A trafficking ring would be an ideal place for a killer to prey on unprotected victims anonymously.

Thai law enforcement are currently pursuing criminal charges against Van der Sloot, who is still being held in a Peruvian jail for Stephany Flores's murder. He is also still being investigated by U.S. and Aruban police for Natalie Holloway's murder. So even if Thailand can find enough evidence to charge Van der Sloot with human trafficking, they're going to have to wait in what's becoming a pretty long line.


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