Prostitution, Sex-Tourism, Children Prostitution and AIDS in Thailand: Data, Figures,
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What does Prostitution
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.
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
As the device bringing foreigners must no be scared off long
term suitors only have to reckon with penalties rarely.
Background on Prostitution
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Condoms must be paid by themselves.
Weekly health checks.
|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
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
Due to the increasing poverty of mainly the rural population
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
|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.
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
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
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!