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An Inside Look at Thailand’s Prostitution Industry

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Thailand has long been an iconic destination due to its beautiful beaches, unique food, and one-of-a-kind culture. It’s among the most exotic tourist spots on the planet. However, behind its lush palm trees, iconic temples, and dreamy waters, it also offers a different kind of adventure. 

When the sun sets, the streets transform into prostitution zones and red-light districts where anything goes. From happy ending massages, blow job bars, ping pong shows to wild drunken orgies, Thailand is highly controversial for its sex tourism. 

Even though prostitution is prohibited, several loopholes exist. The law mainly turns a blind eye and permits the industry to flourish. So how large is the sex industry in Thailand, and why is it so popular with tourists? Keep reading for an inside look at Thailand’s prostitution industry!

Estimated Number of Prostitutes in Thailand 

Prostitution is extremely prevalent in this country, and it has existed for centuries. It was first legalized in the 14th century when concubines and slaves were awarded to men for their bravery in battles. This type of sex slavery was abolished in the 1960s. 

However, many of the slaves suddenly found themselves without any land or money. They had to turn to sex work. So, by World War II, prostitution became an illegal industry. Areas like Bangkok, Patpong, and Pattaya were popular (and cheap) erotic vacation spots for soldiers from the U.S. and other nations. 

Today, the commercial sex business is truly massive, and its estimated yearly revenue exceeds $6 billion. Some statistics claim that the number of sex workers in Thailand falls between 800,000 and 2 million or more. Currently, the main prostitution areas in Thailand are Pattaya, Bangkok, and the aptly named Phuket Island. 

What’s more, the capital, Pattaya, has been nicknamed the “Sodom and Gomorrah” of the modern world. It’s a hotbed for all types of rough trade activities with the largest number of bar girls, sluts, and street hookers. Approximately, there are over 27,000 sex workers in Pattaya. Moreover, in 2019, the government took strong measures to ban prostitution in Pattaya’s infamous Walking Street. This area is possibly the most visited sex tourism spot in Thailand. However, the future of the illegal sex industry is still uncertain.

Estimated Number of Sex Tourists

Because of its high number of prostitutes, incredibly low costs, availability of various services, and a rich nightlife, Thailand is considered a sort of paradise for sex tourism. While the number of tourists is around 35 million annually, the number of people who visit the country for sex is uncertain. 

Some estimates from 2013 claim that around 11 million men visited Thailand for sex tourism. The number may have increased over the years, though. Overall, all types of travelers engage in Thai sex tourism. The tourists are mostly men seeking Thai women and various types of sexual activities. Gay and transgender sex tourism is also quite popular here. The country’s MTF transgender persons, aka “ladyboys,” are famous worldwide. Many straight men arrive in Thailand to have sex with them. Plus, the destination is among the favorites for couples due to its adult-only hotel resorts. 

Unfortunately, Thailand is also notorious for underage prostitution, sex slavery, and the high risk of STDs.

Reasons for Its Popularity

This exotic destination offers a unique blend of sex tourism, nightlife, leisure, and sightseeing. Part of its popularity is due to the fact that tourists can pay for nearly any type of sexual activity with some of the most beautiful girls in the world. Moreover, the prices are shockingly low. For instance, blow job bars charge around 700 Baht per BJ, which is just over $20. First, tourists must buy the ladies a drink for about $4 and can then order a blow job behind the bar or in a private room. 

Prostitutes and all sorts of sexual activities can be found in Go Go bars, massage parlors, karaoke bars, gentlemen’s clubs, brothers, gay clubs, and on the streets. 

As an example of various services, massage parlors offer hand jobs, blow jobs, group massages, and sex. Getting laid will cost around $60 in a massage parlor. And if you pick up freelancers on the street, the price is around $20 to $30.

Establishments like bars may not even charge tourists for the prostitutes but could instead ask for a bar fine or fee. Tourists can also find luxurious escort services. Still, a 24-hour service for even the most extravagant workers costs approximately $350 for standard sex. There’s an additional fee for A+ services (anal), which is around $60. Additionally, for any activity, the tourists have to negotiate the cost in advance. Interestingly enough, sex shops and toys are illegal in Thailand.

Sex Massage Spa in Thailand

The reason why Thailand has many various forms of commercial sex and prostitution lies within its corrupt legal system. As mentioned earlier, there’s a loophole for sexual activities in various legal establishments. 

Massage parlors, nightclubs, karaoke bars, and similar can be registered as regular businesses. Then, the law can treat any type of commercial sex activity as a business exchange. If the owner of that business doesn’t participate in the activity, corrupt officials and police officers will overlook the crime. 

And out of all establishments, the massage parlors and spas are perhaps the most popular. They offer fast, easy, and anonymous sex services, along with health and wellness therapy. 

There are two massage types available: traditional Thai and soapy massage. The traditional parlors offer regular massages (oil, foot, etc.) along with various sex services. Not all establishments will offer sex services, but tourists can easily spot that by the looks and outfits of the prostitutes. 

When it comes to soapy massage parlors, the customer first enters a hot tub with one or more girls. Then, after a seductive and bubbly bath, the massage begins. We mean a highly sexual massage usually performed without any hands, of course. After the bath, the customer lies down on a mattress. Then, the sex worker performs a full massage with their full body and lots of foam. After that, it’s time for a happy ending of any sort (hand job, blow job, penetration, etc.). 

Massage parlors are also highly popular with the locals and are one of the most visited venues in Thailand. 

Summary

Thailand is a beautiful destination with a not-so-secret sex industry that is popular worldwide. Would you be brave enough to try some exotic sexual adventures in the so-called “Land of Smiles”?