The origin of prostitution in Thailand
Prostitution in Thailand began during the Vietnam War with foreign soldiers using local girls for sexual intercourses.
Thailand: The ultimate place of sexual tourism
The cost of living in the country is relatively low, therefore foreign tourists benefit from an extensively high spending power. The price for a prostitute in Thailand is incomparably cheap compare to the one proposed in western countries. 400,000 girls in Asia and around 10,000 in Pattaya are willing to prostitute themselves.
Foreign tourists simply have to pick prostitutes from a sample of exotic beauties. Sexual tourists come to Thailand with a strong sexual frustration. They hope to find docile and cheap women who are not reluctant in fulfilling their obscene desires. Thai prostitutes are often treated as vulnerable sexual objects.
For the government:
Prostitution is supposed to be legally forbidden in Thailand. However, since the government heavily benefits from this activity, no legal measures are being held to stop it.
For the girls:
Prostitution represents a quick and easy source of income for deprived girls.
Most frequented areas:
Prostitution is a common business in Thailand, most of the activity takes place in touristic areas such as Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. Some Thai even fly over to Japan to prostitute themselves.
In Thailand, prostitution does not go through solicitation on the streets. Girls find their customers in bars, strip clubs, body massages’ shops and even online. Depending on the customer’s demand, girls can also be found on display.
80% of the girls come from poor, small villages in the Ishaan Province. This deprived area is located in the North of Thailand. Some of them also make their ways from Laos and Cambodia. Misery, lack of education and a hopeless perspective of better future force girls to the dangerous path of prostitution.
They leave their hometowns at a relatively young age (some of them at 13) to join touristic areas looking for better opportunities. Lonely and vulnerable, they are victims of their inexperience.
From young Americans who spend 2weeks holidays in Thailand to retired Germans who come to enjoy their retirements’ times entertaining young women.
Even local men take part into this activity, which is common for them. It’s part of their culture and it’s as well tolerated by their wives. Not surprisingly, local men pay less than foreigners and go far from touristic spots. Some girls only work with local men.
They work for themselves, like real managers. Often, they stay for a long period of time with men who entertain them, even if they go back to their home countries.
They look for customers on beaches, in clubs and in bars. They are hunters and massive gold diggers who can completely ruin their customers.
Dancers or just there to get free drinks, they depend on “mamasan” who take commissions whenever a client “take them out” of their bars. Often, they are physically and morally abused, sometimes, they get raped. Some of the clients don’t pay if they are not satisfied and “mamasan” can ask girls to reimburse the lost hours spent with clients. Bars’ owners can be policemen as well and tend to abuse of their given power and legal authority. Girls are valueless in Thailand.
How they are perceived:
They usually see them as sexual objects, cheap and submissive. There might be some exceptions but to a great extent, western men don’t want to know what girls feel. They can’t care less about their emotions or their motivations to work as such. Girls have their own lives and families to feed, they are regular women who need to work to survive.
In Thailand, sex is not taboo however it is banned from the public sphere. Couples neither hold hands nor kiss on the streets. Priority is given to money in this country. I have read about parents selling their 13 years old daughters’ virginities for a few dollars.
Girls working in the sex industry bring a lot to their families. Often, the money earned goes to the families. They stop working and become completely reliant on the girls, constantly asking for more and rarely showing their gratitude to the girls who lost their dignities. Some Thai own brand new sports cars and big houses, they can afford them with the money earned by the girls.
Families’ reputations are build up with this dirty money, the more they have the greater their popularities increase. Even if they are aware of its provenance, they do not talk about it. They gain pride in having money as well as a good reputation. Families quickly spend the money difficulty earned by their girls.
Girls who work hard for themselves can earn per month:
1. Dancer’s income: 150€
2. Drinks payed by clients (0,75€ per drink) :50€
3. 1h sexual intercourses in bars (5€): 75€
4. Clients’ tips for sexual intercourses (25€): 375€
5. Rights to leave the bar in order to have sexual intercourses (4€): 70€
6. Price for sexual intercourses (25€) :450€
Pays can rise up to 1,200€. Sometimes, girls receive money from tourists who send it once they are back home (e.g. 500€ per month)
Revenues of girls coming from the same social background for standard jobs:
Waitress+ tips: 125€
Unqualified seamstress: 7
They work 6 days a week and 10 hours per day. Some of them are waitresses during the day in order to earn a fix income. They can as well target their clients better when men are still sober.
The Way out:
All the girls share a common goal: emigrate to Europe or the USA. In order to do so, they need to meet a man who is willing to get married. This is their way out to get a visa.
Marriage is a well-paid job contract for the long run, an unbelievable chance for the girls and their families. The man gives money and offer presents.
Most of the girls never reach the state of marriage. Once, they become too old, they have to return to a standard life with a low-paid job.
They then find a husband and start their families. They have to provide for their families as husbands are not willing to work. Parents keep the goods (cars, houses…) earned by their daughters when they were prostituting themselves.
I am not talking about child prostitution which is a reality in Thailand.
Sources: 6 weeks in Thailand, 2 in the North of the country where the girls are from.
I am absolutely not a client of sexual tourism however, I have seen and heard a lot about it. I was able to talk to Thai who confirmed my thoughts on the matter.
Most of the details come from this book: “Only 13”. I heavily recommend it. It is the shocking testimony of a 13 years old Thai, hated by her family who ran away to Bangkok. She tells all about her life as a prostitute till her arrival in Europe. Her story is particularly hard and difficult. From this book, another side of the land of smiles emerges.