Thailand Prostitution: Some facts that you did not hear on the news
When one mentions Thailand in the company of friends, most will think of three things. Those who love food will immediately imagine some delicious Thai dishes. On the other hand, those who love traveling will mention numerous islands where they go on vacations.
However, food and travel aren’t the only associations when it comes to this South-East Asian country. Many people associate Thailand with prostitution, and for a good reason. It’s one of the most popular sex tourism destinations in the whole world.
Although it’s illegal, it’s pretty much impossible not to come across a male or female prostitute while visiting Thailand. Be it in a major city like Bangkok or some remote village — you’ll see shady massage parlors and red-light districts everywhere.
Male Prostitution Is Common Too
Even if it might sound sexist to some, most associate sex work with women. Yet, in Thailand, prostitution is a male thing too. In fact, the number of prostitutes of both sexes is pretty much the same. And, of course, that includes trans people as well.
For every girl on the street, there will be a guy on the next corner. But why is this so? Are Thai people more progressive than the rest of the world? The main reason why both sexes resort to selling their bodies is poverty.
Both in urban and rural areas, thousands of people are barely scraping by. In some cases, male prostitutes are minorities from neighboring countries like Laos and Myanmar. Thailand is, therefore, an attractive destination for gay sex, more than any other in the world.
Prostitutes Suffer From Stigma
One would think how so much prostitution in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand means there’s no stigma surrounding the world’s oldest profession. Yet, it’s the opposite. Most Thai people don’t have an affirmative attitude towards sex workers.
For some, it’s immoral, and no one should practice it. These people are, just like their Western counterparts, conservatives who seem to look down upon prostitutes. For them, both men and women who sell their bodies are sinners and the root of all evil.
On the other hand, others who don’t enjoy prostitution in Thailand so much find it gives the country a bad reputation. In their eyes, the sex industry is making their country home to shady tourists who come only to exploit their fellow countrymen and women.
Such stigmatization can mean only one thing. Namely, the position of prostitutes across the whole country is in an awful state. They don’t enjoy any health care and security. As such, they suffer from various STIs and are often on the receiving end of violence.
All this makes for a pretty weird climate in Southeast Asia. Both the Thai government and regular folks don’t look kindly upon dirty Thai massage parlors, but they close one eye when it benefits the tourism industry. Their economy relies on the thing they hate.
Child Trafficking Exists
Unfortunately, one fact about Bangkok prostitution and Thailand is that they are no strangers to child trafficking. The sad reality is that many prostitutes — both male and female — are underage. They are minors from poor areas of the country, making ends meet.
In many instances, young boys and girls are sent by their parents to do sex work. Therefore, if you’re looking to enjoy prostitution in Thailand, the chances of having intercourse with a minor who’s working forcibly there are pretty high.
Bar girls in beer bars and gigolos in tourist areas are often not even Thai. They, as previously mentioned, come from nearby countries. Most of them are from Myanmar and Laos.
Women Are Prone to Deceit and Abuse
Another unfortunate reality of being a prostitute in Thailand is that females frequently come across violence and deceit. Both tourists and locals who enjoy their services think it’s okay not to pay them. And if female sex workers complain about it, they end up beaten.
But it’s not just shady customers who like to beat women. Their pimps don’t find it funny when their workers end up cheated on. They, in turn, abuse them physically yet again, making the whole deal even worse. Of course, the police do the same.
Of course, male sex workers are prone to similar situations too. However, they have it at least somewhat better. They can still fend off attacks and are less likely to end up beaten by locals who despise prostitution.
Prostitution Is Not Legalized
Lastly, we need to mention once again how prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Of course, the laws and legislations that should control it are nowhere near perfect. In fact, they are just dead letters that no one cares about. This makes the entire situation even worse.
Since sex work is illegal, engaging in it opens the door to a myriad of problems. The main issues are prostitute health and them spreading STIs. They don’t have any insurance, so many don’t check up on their health. So, having safe sex with street hookers in Thailand is pretty much science fiction.
The other major concern is the violence we’ve mentioned. The police don’t really care for sex workers and the abuse they face. They either look the other way when it occurs, or they join in on beating them up. All this makes being a prostitute in Thailand one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. You should, therefore, have it in mind when visiting.