Prostitution in Thailand has been common in modern Thailand and its predecessor states for centuries. During the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351–1767), prostitution was legal and taxed, and the state ran brothels. Since 1960, prostitution in Thailand has been de jure illegal. Nevertheless, it was estimated to be worth US$6.4 billion a year in revenue (2015), accounting for a significant portion of the national GDP.
Prostitution is illegal in Thailand
Act, B.E. 2539
The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, B.E. 2539 (1996) is the statute most directly prohibiting prostitution. Under the act, the definition of “prostitution” is “Sexual intercourse, or any other act, or the commission of any other act in order to gratify the sexual desire of another person in a promiscuous manner in return for money or any other benefit, irrespective of whether the person who accepts the act and the person who commits the act are of the same sex or not.” A clear definition of the phrase “in a promiscuous manner” is not provided. (Wikipedia – 2018)
Alisa is a 30 years old Transgender, and she works as “bargirl”, both in Pattaya and Hua Hin. She rent a room in Pattaya for about, 2500 THB pr. month, and that’s without use of electricity. As a “bargirl” she normally do not take customer too her place, instead she visit the customer too their places.
A study done by AIDS Care investigated substance use of HIV risk behaviors among kathoey sex workers in Bangkok, Thailand. Only half of participants stated that they were tested for HIV and one had seen a health care provider in the past 12 months. It found that katheoys who experienced abuse from a father or brother were less likely to use condoms during anal sex with customers. Katheoy sex work tends to be in large cities and tourist areas including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket City, and Pattaya. Many kathoeys work part-time as freelance prostitutes and keep a day-time job. Kathoeys are usually a cheaper alternative to female prostitutes and considered as less likely to be a disease risk. Pressure from often specialized “ladyboy” bars puts kathoeys at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases given that many customers are unwilling to use condoms. (Wikipedia)
“Bargirls cannot eat Love”
Day of and then it’s a birthday party time. Alisa having some fun with friends and coworkers.
Act, B.E. 2539
Persons associating in a “prostitution establishment” with another person for the purpose of prostitution faces a jail term or a fine or both. The term “prostitution establishment” is not clearly defined, although it may be broadly interpreted to include any place where prostitution takes place, especially in regard to cases involving child prostitution that carry heavier penalties (up to six years if the prostitute is younger than 15 years of age) otherwise, the law is not usually enforced against prostitution in private places. (Wikipedia – 2018)
Jiraporn is a 21 years old Sex-worker in Thailand, and mother of three young children, who has to take care of her self, and her three young children, even though two of them are for now in care of her mother. It’s not easy to work as a Sex-worker in a city like Pattaya, as it is full of women in the same business, and the demand is limited by the customers, which often make demands that are difficult to fulfil without contempt and disregard for themselves as a woman, and even as a Sex worker. Also the working time is very tricky, as she has to meet the needs of her family. The worst thing about prostitution, and also the hardest thing to deal with, is bad customers, which is lot of in this kind of business. Their appearance and behaviour leave behind scars in the soul of these women forever. While foreigners generally consider prostitution to be good and unquestionable, there is a great shame for those who need to work on prostitution, and it is a general belief in Thai people that prostitution is a bad thing.
The most common way to reach customer, is to use popular “App” like “Line”. And if there is no age limit on the girls description, they usually are only looking for so called, “Short time”, which is normally one hour service, and cost somewhere between, 700 and 2000 THB.
Act, B.E. 2539
The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act was written with a particular focus upon child prostitution and trafficking. Section 8 penalizes customers who engage in sexual intercourse with sex workers under the age of 15 years with a prison term of two to six years and a fine of up to 120,000 baht. For sex workers between the ages of 15 and 18 years, the prison term is one to three years, and the fine is up to 60,000 baht. (Wikipedia – 2018)
Pattaya – 2018 “Thus, many families see selling their daughters into the sex trade, or what they often think is a just a steady job in the city, as a way out of poverty. Their daughters, who see this as a way to pay back their debt to their family, often accept eagerly.” (Wikipedia) © GHs
A journalist declares that, “Child prostitution in Thailand involved 800,000 children under the age of sixteen in 2004.” Her next paragraph claims that, “Available figures estimate that currently some 30,000 to 40,000 children, not including foreign children, are exploited as prostitutes.” (Laccino, Ludovica 2014)
According to ECPAT, “…due to the hidden nature of child sexual abuse reliable figures are hard to compile….”
Pattaya – 2018 “Pimps exploit this vulnerability, and convince parents to sell their daughters for money. Daughters will be promised stable employment in the city that could aid the family’s financial crisis. Families are presented with false contracts that often seem appealing.” (Wikipedia) © GHs
The exact number of child-prostitutes in Thailand is not known. According to the US-based research institute “Protection Project”, estimates of the number of children involved in prostitution living in Thailand ranges from 12,000 to the hundreds of thousands (ECPAT International). The government, university researchers, and NGOs estimated that there are as many as 30,000 to 40,000 prostitutes under 18 years of age, not including foreign migrants (US Department of State, 2005b). Thailand’s Health System Research Institute estimates that children in prostitution make up 40% of prostitutes in Thailand. (Wikipedia)
Estimates of the number of prostitutes in Thailand vary widely. No Thai government has ever conducted a formal survey. Estimates are subject to controversy. A 2004 estimate by Dr. Nitet Tinnakul of Chulalongkorn University gave a total of 2.8 million sex workers, including two million women, 20,000 adult males, and 800,000 minors under the age of 18, but the figures for women and minors were considered to be grossly inflated by most observers, and to have resulted from poor research methods. (Wikipedia – 2018)
Pattaya – 2019. Numerous support organisations for sex workers exist in Thailand. Most of them attempt to discourage women from taking up or continuing the trade. © GHs
SHE Foundation (Self Help & Empowerment) is a Christian charity organisation that works with women and children involved in the commercial sex trade in Phuket. SHE offers a prevention programme that provides women with free hotel training, free housing and paid employment making jewellery within the SHE Center.
EMPOWER is a Thai NGO that offers health, educational and counseling services to female sex workers. The organisation seeks to empower sex workers and has been operating since 1985, with offices in Patpong (Bangkok), Chiang Mai, Mae Sai and Patong Beach (Phuket). (Wikipedia – 2018)
Sody is a 24 years old Transgender Sex-worker from Cambodia. She work as freelance, and therefore not so called “bargirl”. She, as so many of Sexworkers in Thailand, has very little education. But she has learned english to be better qualified for the sex-marked. She can get Visa too Thailand for 13. days with out any cost, but if she stay longer, she need to pay about. 1500 THB for 2-3 mont visa.
The Drugs, Yaba, Ecstasy, Heroin and Opium.
Ya ba is not commonly injected as many intravenous users favour the pure product instead (methamphetamine, called “ice” in Southeast Asia). This illegal drug is especially popular in Thailand, where it is imported from Burma or Laos even though it is sometimes manufactured locally in Thailand. (Wikipedia – 2018)
Other drugs like ecstasy and cocaine are also becoming a serious concern in Thailand, but not as much as heroin and yaba. Thailand has strict laws against drug users, which include the use of the death penalty, but these laws do not stop the people from using drugs. Drug use in Thailand is not only affecting the lower class but all classes of society. (https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com)
Yaba means ‘crazy medicine’ in Thai. It comes in a pill form and the user melts it down and the vapors from the smoke are inhaled. This drug can also be injected, but is mainly smoked. It is a highly addictive drug, and young and old people alike are becoming addicted to it. (https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com)
Drug use in Thailand is becoming an increasing problem. Heroin and opium are still popular drugs for users in Thailand, but they are being replaced by Yaba. Yaba is a combination of caffeine and methamphetamine, mainly manufactured in Burma. (https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released its “2014 Global report on alcohol and health” on May 12 and the statistics and trends are not good news for Thailand. The report has serious implications for Thailand’s continued economic growth and the health. (UN – WHO)
Thailand has set up numerous government treatment and rehabilitation programs for drug users. Admissions at these centers increased dramatically over the past 20 years. Yaba is the most common drug of choice for those admitted, then heroin, and third is opium. (https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com)
This is sad to say, that the Thai social structure tends to accept this sort of abuse, and not only to accept – we have laws, we have bills that vitally support the existence of these sex establishments. That’s one thing. And also, we have a Mafia that is also involved in the political parties, so this keeps the abuse going. The second reason is a cultural factor. I don’t know about other countries, but in Thailand the sexual behaviour of Thai men accepts prostitution. Every class of Thai men accept it, although not all Thai men practise it. So they don’t see it as a problem. So when it comes to the policymakers, who are mostly men, of course, they don’t see this as a problem. They know there are many women who are brought into prostitution in Thailand. They know that some are treated with brutal violence. But they don’t think it’s a terrible picture.
© GHs – 2020