- Poverty, debt, low education and family expectation leads to prostitution.
- 60% of tourists who visit Thailand are men and 70% of these men come for prostitution (these statistics are now more than 10 years old and we were told the percentage is not as high today but still more than fifty per cent). According to a Thai survey of sexual behaviour, at least 450,000 Thai men visited sex workers every day.
- Many Western countries promote sex tourism by having trips specifically aimed at men who are looking for these experiences.
- Arrivals from East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East accounted for 70 per cent of all visitors to the country in the first two months of 2016. Thailand is attracting tourists from ‘sexually repressed’ nations. Sexual repression at home creates a desire for hedonism abroad.
- International tourism is crucial to Thailand’s economy and and sex tourism comprises a significant portion of tourism in Thailand. Prostitution is, realistically albeit not theoretically, the only practical option for many Thai rural dwellers to break-out of their poverty.
- In Thailand sex tourism is illegal and therefore can not be promoted by the Thailand Tourism Authority. It is illegal for every person in Thailand to participate in the sex industry except the clients, for them it is still legal.
- Many children and women are exploited by being lied to about job opportunities then their passports are taken away and they have no way out.
- Lately younger girls have been used more and more because it is believed that because they are so young they have no sexually transmitted diseases.
- A big negative impact on Thailand’s tourism industry is the fast spreading AIDS.
While I was standing outside of a shop in Bangkok, waiting for Nick to do some shopping an older man stopped and started to talk to me. I thought, there is no harm in talking to him, he asked for my name, where I was from and told me he was from Dubai and he liked the freedom in Thailand. I started to be a bit suspicious so told him that I am waiting for my husband and he thought he had the right to say ‘that’s a shame that you are not alone and that you are married, I would take you with me.’ How brutally disgusting and I don’t think I look like a prostitute in the slightest.
Once I have started looking into sex tourism, I found many websites where men talk about their experiences, give advice on how to approach prostitutes, do’s and don’ts and advertise various clubs and talk about women and prostitution as if being involved in it was nothing to be ashamed of but to be proud of. You can also find many comments from other men who feel that they have the right to comment on these posts unashamedly and talk about tips and tricks. This shows that those who are after sex can find information on sexual exploits with detailed information on sex establishments in different destinations.
Many people might use the excuse that they have had a romantic encounter with a local coincidentally and were not after prostitution, however this is a lie and they are only trying to find another reason so that they don’t have to deal with their guilt and come across disgusting to others who might hear or know about their encounter. The truth is that in Thailand there are many women that calculate and try to get out as many financial gains as possible out of a relationship. You have to be in a very low place to be wanting a relationship where one part is only after your money and nothing else. Some men justify being involved by saying that they are helping the economy and helping these women get out of poverty. Walking around in Bangkok you see so many old men holding hands with young Thai women. Many prostitutes marry their clients to have a free entrance to their clients country and for a better life for their children.
As a 17 year old I went through a lot of abuse including sexual abuse by someone who was as old as my father. I wasn’t able to process what happened for years because of my naivety, I felt ashamed and people around told me it was my fault. I was trapped in this situation for a few months because of various reasons and so I definitely have a closer view on how women can feel like when their rights have been taken and when they are trapped in something that they see no way out of. The Thai girls will obviously not show their emotions and how their job affects them to men who are paying for their services as they need the money but believe me inside them their emotions are crying out for help from this vicious cycle.
I don’t know how any human being can think that they can treat another human being like a dog with no rights or use them for their own pleasure and then throw them away after giving them some money. It just shows that we are all capable of being bad and that there is not much morality left in the world. People will use any excuse to make their actions justifiable so that they can be happy. Life is no longer about others but it’s all about ourselves, we no longer care about how others are feeling but all that matters is that we are happy and we can do whatever makes us happy. This also just proves what the world is becoming with turning away from God. There is no justifiable reason for paying money for sexual favours or for running businesses where women are using their sexuality to make money.
Rahab Ministries Visit
We visited Rahab Ministries (a Christian charity) that works with women in the tourist bars of Patpong and they showed us a powerpoint of what they do and we met their leaders and also bought a card from the shop where they sell what the women makes.
Rahab Ministries takes girls from the life of prostitution and employs them in jewellery making, card making, catering services or to work in their laundry shop while also teaching them English and they also support them in starting their own businesses. Retraining them in a safe Christian environment where they can learn about Jesus, allows a change to happen inside out. Women who join the program they have to commit to a discipleship programme but they know what they are getting into as Rahab is well known in the area. Through this discipleship programme out of one group normally 5 of them leaves the bars. They teach English through using Bible stories and they also plan mission trips where the women serves primary school children and shares about their new faith in God.
In this area of Bangkok 4000 women worked in bars in 2015 but last year the number went down to 1500, many women have left to go to Pattaya because of the conflict with the coup in Bangkok.
They shared many personal stories of women who have started their own business through the help of Rahab Ministries. A lot of women become Christians through these ministries as well. They work with the most vulnerable and they are making a visible difference so why don’t you join in with helping a worthwhile charity.
How can you help?
They would like to open a new laundry shop.
They are looking for more partners.
And they would like to take the women on more mission trips as these trips empower them.
sign up for their email newsletter& prayer bulletin on their home page
What are the solutions?
If a global law was made that would stop sex tours being able to operate and being provided by Western countries, we could already see a decrease of sex tourism in many destinations. It is believed that when the demand stops the supply of women will also stop.
PUBLICLY CONDEMN travel agencies who promote sexual exploitation of women and children through sex tourism.
Thailand needs to tighten their rules and make prostitution illegal for tourists. They need to come up with other income sources for their people who are living in poverty.
The government should focus on poor children and provide them with education they need to avoid prostitution and lower its rates.
Support charities that are making a difference amongst prostitutes.
CREATE AWARENESS by: Talking to your family, friends, neighbors, work mates, and by presenting information to the media (newspaper, radio, or TV).
I am not sure if there are many solutions in such a sinful day and age but it should start with educating men that what they are doing is harmful. Not sure how men would understand this without morals and without a God that they can look to though when everything that we hear is that we can do whatever makes us happy, putting pleasure before morals.