Prostitution, Sex-Tourism, Children Prostitution and AIDS in Thailand: Data, Figures, Facts, Backgrounds and Information. - Virtual Travel and Island Guide with all Information for Holidays & Travels to Thailand.
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Prostitution, Sex-Tourism & AIDS in Thailand
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Prostitution in Third World Nations
Background on Prostitution in Thailand
Figures concerning Prostitution in Thailand
Sex-Tourism in Thailand
Working Conditions of Prostitutes in Thailand
Social Position of Prostitutes in Thailand
Children Prostitution - Reasons & Penalties
AIDS in Thailand

What does Prostitution mean?
The term prostitution stems from the Latin "prostare” – "to lend oneself”. People offer a previously defined service for a previously defined amount of money to other people. Prostitution is carried out almost everywhere in the world from women as well as from men and is commonly known as the oldest business in the world.

Prostitution in Third World and emerging Nations

Disregarding the subsistence economy (economical method which – except for exchange of goods – embarks the purpose to cover the personal requirements) and the development of the rural areas by falling row material prices on the world market and the subsidisation individual exporting business sectors leads to a growing depletion of the rural population. As in many of these countries tourism makes big part of the cross national product more importance is attached to the development of mass tourism rather than on other essential measures to counteract the depletion of big parts of the population.
Due to this poorness in these countries a growing migration into cities can be observed. Many countrymen flee into the cities as there the chances for economical "success” and covering the family is bigger than in the infrastructural neglected rural areas where they derive from. Poorness, missing education, lack of jobs, no alternatives in career, low wages and missing social coverage are the main reasons for the growing number of prostitutes.
Thus the number of women and men prostituting themselves in emerging countries grows in parallel in the same measure as tourism increases. In most of these countries, same as in Thailand, prostitution is forbidden. However the "service providing” women and men are the ones suffering from these restrictions.
As the device bringing foreigners must no be scared off long term suitors only have to reckon with penalties rarely.

Background on Prostitution in Thailand

Contrary to the common opinion prostitution in Thailand is due to the informal handling of sexuality or has its roots in Buddhism, prostitution was imported by Chinese guest-workers. At the beginning with Chinese women which were in the course of time more and more replaced by locals. The degree of prostitution as it can be observed in Thailand today is a direct consequence of the Vietnam war. The US-Army created in the 60th and 70th recreation centres so called "Rest & Recreation Centre” where American soldiers should recover in between their war missions. As by this the "demand” of female company was growing the number of women working in the sex-business increased (in smaller quantities men as well). The tourist industry developing right in this time took over this service sector after the end of the war and the associated pullout of the US soldiers.
Since 1982 tourism is the devices bringer No.1 in Thailand – 1990 already 5 million tourists visited the former Siam per year and the number grows constantly! As in many other countries agriculture was economically neglected so that due to the dominance of the tourism sector also in Thailand a migration into cities mainly in the poor agrarian north-east and north can be observed. Due to the often very small wages, aspiring to better incomes and a small amount of "luxury” more and more people hire out to prostitution – in the meantime the number of prostitutes in Thailand is esteemed to more then 2 million.
Out of the social poverty children are, mainly from the poor northeast of Thailand but also from the neighbour countries Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, often sold from their parents to people-smugglers – mostly attracted by false promises. Thus is spoken about qualified education or well paid work for the children offering the family a long term chance to financial support. Mostly the minors end up in brothels for paedophiles or are offered to foreigners with such an affection. According to the international help organisation "Médecins sans frontiers” in Thailand more then 200.000 children and adolescents are forced to prostitution.
On the other hand the number of "economic-prostitutes” constantly grows in Thailand following the horizontal business for material reasons only. Many young women flee from a work intensive and full of privation life into the provinces to experience the "blessings of civilisation” in the big cities and to support themselves and their families.
Many of those offering their services in the tourist areas by all means have the possibility to do a different work. But the attraction to earn more then a studied pedagogue or a doctor is the main appeal why many young people follow this trade. Apart from the desire for a certain degree of wealth it also offers the possibility to them to more generous help their families where at the same time their social status and the social prestige also grows due to their income – as long as the way of breadwinning does not become public.
This group also includes the leisure-time prostitutes following a regular work, studies or another job and after closing time come with their financially strong contacts into the hotel to improve their income and fulfil the desire for a modern handy or the latest fashion.
A further group is formed by the growing number of drug addicted prostitutes. Either became a drug addict the "normal” way or sold as a child and tried to cope with the situation easier by using drugs. And once become addicted there is usually no way out of the vicious circle of "drug consumption - prostitution for the procurement of drugs”.

Figures concerning Prostitution in Thailand

According to the "Focus edition” covering the subject "prostitution in Thailand” on the basis of a review (Platform from Michel Houellebecq) the Thai red-light branch turns over about 27 billion Dollar a year what is equal to approximately 14 % of the cross national income.
In the meantime 28 % of the incomes of all northern Thai households is generated by prostitution.
Prostitution in Thailand is much more widely spread as in the rich developed nations. Also plays in Thailand not the tourist-prostitution the superior role but love services are mainly absorbed by Thais and other Asians. Young Thais are collecting their first sexual experiences when visiting a brothel and for business people it a visit at the brothel is common by all means.
Thus 95 % of all Thai men have experience with prostitutes, 4,6 million Thais, more than 1 million Malayan and other Asians are demanding sexual services. 400.000 Germans, which after the Brits and the US-Americans, come in third in the "country-ranking” of sex tourism meet their need for love services in Thailand ever year.

Sex-Tourism in Thailand
The subject sex-tourism is a relatively new phenomenon and in the tourism sociology an area which attracted interest only during the last century.
Since the early 80th the business with sex in Thailand grows steadily. In the meantime downright sex-tourism-centres were formed at the head of all Pattaya. But also in Bangkok or Chiang Mai there are areas where only sex for tourists is offered. In Koh Samui and Phuket almost only tourist-prostitution takes place whereas Hat Yai in the south is almost solely visited by Malayans which are also considered as tourists but often only enter Thailand for the purpose to satisfy their sexual needs and after a short stay at the brothel accede their way back. The tourists are offered an anonymous, by the large number of women and men offering the themselves, also assumed zone free-for-all, where ethnical concerns on the part of the sex-tourists are rapidly masked out – as the general opinion applies that prostitution in Thailand is culturally accepted and even only well is done by financially supporting the poor local people by paying money. In addition the situation in Thailand in the early 90th was aggravated by the image arisen to be a paradise for paedophiles – though only due to this image those came in masses.

Working Conditions of female Prostitutes in Thailand

Analysis on working conditions of female prostitutes in three different, from Thais for Thais prosecuted establishment, supplied the following result:

The pay amounts in between 2.000 and 6.000 Baht a month.
What the prostitutes get from the customers for the services is auxiliary income.
2 days off a month, for every additional day 300 Baht must be paid.
On Fridays, Saturdays and national Holidays no days off are allowed. The penalties for breaches amount between 500 and 1.000 Baht per day.
Per month the women must accompany in between 4 and 10 customers is this quota not reached 500 Baht per missed customer is deducted from their salary.
Per month they must sell in between 80 and 100 drinks to the guests is the quota not reached, for each drink less 30 Baht are deducted.
Once per quarter a health check is made. Does it show any disease communicable by sexual intercourse the salary for this month is retained.
Clothing is dictated by the bars, is it not worn the penalty amounts from 100 to 200 Baht.
No salary but 50% of the love fee the customer pays to the brothel.
Working hours from 6.00 am until midnight, if there is a run of customers up to 24 hours.
No paid days off
The employees either have to live in the brothel or there where the owner of the brothel decides on.
200 Baht a day for board and lodging plus 50 Baht for the police.
Condoms must be paid by themselves.
Weekly health checks.
Massage parlours/Karaoke Clubs
Also no salary but part of the love fee paid by the customer.
Working hours are determined by the owner.
Days off must be announced in time
The amount of customer is determined by the owner.
Dress-code must be followed also determined by the owner.

The Social Position of Prostitutes in Thailand

Prostitution in Thailand is – even though widely spread – illegal as well as socially proscribed! Thus many women and men see them not as such but understand themselves rather as a voluntary date only getting a present for their "affection”. As further investigations have shown most employees in the sex business see their job only as temporary to support their families. Though most prostitutes do not want to register themselves as such to escape the stigma. It often bans from returning into a civil life. Ergo the real function is seen differently and denied against the family even if the financial support often exceeds the salary of the "official” job by far. In the families on the other hand questions are no asked but tacitly the material support is taken even if it is obvious that as a waitress, factory worker or cleaner in a hotel not a quarter as much can be earned.
Employees in the sex business do not get any social security also most cannot call upon the 30 Baht health-concept of the government as they are not registered. Do prostitutes get ill they must pay their invoices for the doctor or the hospital by themselves. Also, as they are no official employees, they cannot call upon any rights and social support according to the working-law.

Children Prostitution in Thailand – Reasons and Penalties

Children prostitution is probably the most worse development of sexual exploitation not only in Thailand but in all countries. The highest figures of child-prostitutes can be found in Asia mainly in Thailand and India. As for children the risk of infection with AIDS is seen as much less, a dramatically increased "demand” for underage girls and boys is registered.
Due to the increasing poverty of mainly the rural population of Thailand and its neighbour countries the dealing with young girls and boys takes on more and more evil dimensions. This organised human trafficking is executed by Mafia-like people smugglers travelling systematically to the poor regions of Indochina looking out for children coming into question which are then bought from the parents making false promises. Often the children are detained for long time and have to "satisfy” ten, twenty or even more men a day. Of prime importance for this children prostitution is the sex tourism from Japan and the western developed countries.
1990 in Thailand an international conference covering this subject took place first time out of which the organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) in the meantime with a worldwide network emerged from, today running offices in 40 countries. 1996 in Thailand the Anti-Prostitution-Laws were tightened specially the penalties for those responsible, promoters and beneficiaries of child prostitution were increase drastically.



2 to 6 years in prison for child prostitution customers if the child was under the age of 15 years and up to 3 years when the adolescent is in between 15 and 18 years.
10 to 20 years in prison for pimps and panderers when the child was under 15 years and 5 to 15 years in prison when the adolescent was in between 15 and 18 years.
10 to 20 years in prison for owners of brothels and bars were prostitution is carried out if the child was under the age of 15 years and 5 to 15 years in prison when the adolescent is in between 15 and 18 years.
Up to 20 years in prison for people forcing children into prostitution and a life sentence when by this the child was seriously injured.
Child molestation is in Germany and other European countries also accusable when the act was perpetrated abroad! Offenders are punished in Germany with prison sentences of at least 6 month up to 10 years.
The TAT (Tourist Authority of Thailand) supports these severe penalties to the full extend and asks visitors of Thailand to support to eliminate the evil of child prostitution. Everyone should inform the TAT or the police finding out about a tour operator, an organisation or an individual offering, running or promoting sex tours to Thailand specially when children are involved. Tourists should neither close their eyes nor their ears – their support can contribute to eliminate the crime of sexual abuse of children in Thailand.
(Source: TAT – Tourist Authority of Thailand)

AIDS in Thailand

AIDS meanwhile has become an established subject in Thailand. In fact most of the male sex tourists and also the prostitutes working in Thailand’s tourist centres attach importance to using condoms but by this the problem will not be embanked. Main reason for this is certainly the lack of education of the pupils about the danger, the transmission and about the prevention through condoms. Mainly in these areas where predominantly local or same poorly educated Malayans or other Asians make use of love services the number of HIV-positive Thais steadily grows. Also affects AIDS, due to frequent visits at brothels, more and more families no matter if poor or rich. In some regions of Thailand most young men already die in between 20 and 30 years from their AIDS disease!
As many Thai prostitutes knowing or not knowing of their HIV infection move the place of employment from other Thai regions into the sex tourist centres it is an absolute misbelieve to presume that women or men coming along with western foreigners have no AIDS!
Random tests in various Thai cities were showing that in between 30 and 90 % of the prostitutes examined were infected with the HIV-virus!
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