The FTSPA maintains that influential figures have used legal loopholes to open "pretty spas" or massage parlours where tourists can buy sexual services. Bars catering to foreigners[ edit ] Women "bar girls" , or men, in the case of gay bars, or transsexual " kathoeys " are employed by the bars either as dancers in the case of go-go bars or simply as hostesses who will encourage customers to buy them drinks. Apart from these sorts of bars, there are a number of other sex trade venues.
In most of these establishments the prostitutes are directly employed, but in hotels, some bars and discos freelance prostitutes are allowed to solicit clients. It is certainly not a new phenomenon, though it may have been exacerbated by the Japanese occupation during World War II and by the extensive use of Thailand as a "Rest and Recreation" facility by US forces during the Second Indochina War c.
Around that time millions of Chinese men came to do construction work, demanding for sex. In , the king passed laws to legalize prostitution and help sex workers get medical care. The era of traditional legal texts came to an end in the early 20th century, but these earlier texts were significant in regard to both the writ and spirit of modern legislation.
A system of medical examinations and "moral rehabilitation" was introduced and the focus of public blame was moved from traffickers and procurers to the prostitutes themselves.
Legalization attempt[ edit ] In , the Ministry of Justice considered legalising prostitution as an official occupation with health benefits and taxable income and held a public discussion on the topic. Legalisation and regulation was proposed as a means to increase tax revenue, reduce corruption, and improve the situation of the workers.
Mechai Viravaidya , known as "Mr. Condom",  has campaigned tirelessly to increase the awareness of safe sex practices and use of condoms in Thailand. He served as minister for tourism and AIDS prevention from to , and also founded the restaurant chain Cabbages and Condoms, which gives free condoms to customers.
No current data on the use of condoms is available. The programme instructed sex workers to refuse intercourse without a condom, and monitored health clinic statistics in order to locate brothels that allow sex without condoms.
Visiting a prostitute or a paid mistress is not an uncommon, though not necessarily acceptable, behaviour for men. Many Thai women, for example, believe the existence of prostitution actively reduces the incidence of rape. Where women are thought to be able to exercise control over their desires, the sexual urge of men is seen to be "a basic physiological need or instinct".
It is also thought by both Thai men and women that men need "an occasional variation in partners". As female infidelity is strongly frowned upon in Thai society, and, according to a survey, sexual relationships for single women also meets disapproval by a majority of the Thai population, premarital sex, casual sex and extramarital sex with prostitutes is accepted, expected and sometimes even encouraged for Thai men, the latter being perceived as less threatening to a marriage over lasting relationships with a so-called "minor wife".
This acceptance has allowed prostitution to flourish without much of the extreme social stigma found in other countries. According to a study, people in Thailand generally disapprove of prostitution, but the stigma for prostitutes is not lasting or severe, especially since many prostitutes support their parents through their work. Some men do not mind marrying former prostitutes. In he was elected for a four-year term to the Thai House of Representatives, but in the Constitutional Court removed him from office.
In October he again ran for governor of Bangkok but was not elected. There should be no problem as long as the politician causes no trouble to his family or society". 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. They think it's just the unlucky cases. And, because of the profit, I think there are many people with an interest involved, so they try to turn a blind eye to this problem. New Slavery in the Global Economy, Kevin Bales argues that in Thai Buddhism , women are viewed as naturally inferior to men, and that Buddha told his disciples that women were "impure, carnal, and corrupting.
Bales also points to the fact that ten kinds of wives are outlined in the Vinaya, or rules for monks. Within these rules, the first three are actually women who can be paid for their services. Sex with prostitutes is viewed by wives as empty sex, and thus women may allow their husbands to have meaningless sex with prostitutes rather than find a new spouse. Buddhism also prescribes "acceptance and resignation in the face of life's pain and suffering ",  in accordance with belief in karma and the expiation of sins from previous lives.
Women may choose to believe that suffering as prostitutes is the result of their karma. Exploitation by police and officialdom[ edit ] Prostitution's tenuous position in Thai society makes it ripe for exploitation by police and governmental officials. Sex businesses pay considerable sums to authorities in order to be permitted to continue in business.
Sex work has become in effect a cash cow for those in a position to extract bribes. Business owners and individual sex workers complain that since the junta came to power in , harassment has increased, as have the sums demanded.
This has the effect of driving businesses out of business and sex workers to the street or internet as freelancers. The government, university researchers, and NGOs estimated that there are as many as 30, to 40, prostitutes under 18 years of age, not including foreign migrants US Department of State, b. Ethnic hill tribe children: They suffer from disproportionate levels of poverty in relation to the general population and most of them lack citizenship cards.
This means that they do not have access to health care or primary school, which limits their further education or employment opportunities. Many children are trafficked into or within the country through criminal networks, acquaintances, former trafficking victims and border police and immigration officials who transport them to brothels across Thailand.
According to traditional customs, the first duty of a girl is to support her family in any way she can. Due to this sense of duty and to pay off family debts, many girls have been forced into prostitution. Children are exploited in sex establishments and are also approached directly in the street by paedophiles seeking sexual contact. Thailand , along with Cambodia , India , Brazil and Mexico , has been identified as a leading hotspot of child sexual exploitation. Human trafficking in Thailand Thailand is listed by the UNODC as both a top destination for victims of human trafficking and a major source of trafficked persons.
It is easy to lure these women from neighboring countries because Thailand has 56 unofficial crossover points and checkpoints, where people can cross the border without paperwork. The woman had managed to escape from the Yakuza-controlled prostitution ring by killing the female Thai mama-san and spent five years in a Japanese prison. In Sweden and the Netherlands, where prostitution is " Greece provides a recent example of the correlation between prostitution and economic destitution: One Thai university student doing sex work to support herself lamented to an interviewer that "my life doesn't give me choices".
But I ignored him. What right does he have? Outside a brothel, I am a normal woman. An independent sex worker in Chiang Mai says, " Akin to a 'professional girlfriend', In return, clients will buy her clothing, take her to watch movies Most of them attempt to discourage women from taking up or continuing the trade.
SHE offers a prevention programme that provides women with free hotel training, free housing and paid employment making jewellery within the SHE Center. It offers English classes, teaches safe sex education, distributes condoms, and promotes health and safety with an in-house gym and discounted medical examinations. The organisation no longer focuses expressly on safe sex issues, but continues to provide information, condoms, and prevention programmes throughout the country.
Exploited women and their children are provided with education and care at the Fountain of Life facility. The Well provides alternative employment, educational opportunities and social services to assist women and families.