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HS: Many Thai Women Living Underground

As many as half of all Thai women in Finland are living underground and outside the safety net of society, writes the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. The paper borrows from a new Interior Ministry report that claims over a hundred women from Thailand suffer domestic violence or are in the sex trade.

Image: YLE

However, between 800 and 1,200 women from Thailand lead a presumably satisfactory life as a housewife, the paper notes. But many suffer oppression from violent partners or are forced to work in the sex trade at massage parlours. One out of ten women do not have a permanent address or even a residence permit.

Two years ago, following an uproar concerning massage parlours, Interior Minister Anne Holmlund asked for a report on measures to improve the position of Thai women. A report written by a senior inspector at the Ministry, Tiina Pesonen, says the actual number of women estranged from society is still hard to determine.

Those coming to Finland by marriage cannot participate in official integration programmes and often their partners even prevent their wives from doing so, the reports adds.

Violence is common in Thai-Finnish families, the report claims. This is often why many women seek refuge away from home in the sex trade. They fear divorce as this could lead to residence permits being revoked. Often women are unaware that a new residence permit can be obtained after divorce or for a valid humanitarian reason, the report says.

The report calls for improved police action to help Thai women facing domestic violence and to prevent them falling into the sex trade by assisting with new residence permit applications.

Helsingin Sanomat writes the Police Division of the Interior Ministry will draw up guidelines aimed at helping Thai women who face domestic violence.

Sources: YLE

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