Trafficking in Thailand

Pregnant? Game over.

Posted in Uncategorized by constancedykhuizen on July 17, 2010

Social customs and laws in Thailand partly explain the expansive state of the sex industry and trafficking. Too often women and girls find themselves feeling like the best option for their life, financially anyway, is to become a prostitute. One sad example is that if a girl becomes pregnant she is forced to drop out of school, which ostensibly tells society and women in particular that they have no future if they get pregnant. Girls who become young mothers are given the double disadvantage of having to find work without a proper education, which means that they are entrenched in a cycle of poverty. If you’re poor and uneducated you’re at risk for getting pregnant, which keeps you poor and uneducated. Not exactly a hopeful scenario. When a woman has few options and little education, she is vulnerable to being trafficked or deciding herself to enter prostitution to support herself and her child, a decision that usually proves fatal for the mother and disastrous for the child. Women and girls in Thailand deserve more options than this.

Some of the scholarship students in my organization have gotten pregnant ¬†and they were merely crossed of the list and their scholarship given to someone else. When I asked if there was any way for the girls to stay in school or for us to support them, I was met with blank looks. The fact that girls are not allowed to continue school reinforces in Thai minds that these girls have no future and little value. Not to mention that the system feels a little bit like a setup since sex education is a widely ignored topic in particularly rural Thai schools. If girls and boys aren’t being educated on safe sex or the consequences of premarital sex, how can girls (and never boys, I might add) be discarded when they become pregnant? Seems entirely unjust to me.

There is hope, however, in the form of a new law being debated that would allow teen mothers to continue their public education. This editorial from The Nation is in full support of this law:

These girls should receive a second chance. Instead of sanctioning them, parents, friends and society should try to be more understanding, give them moral support, and allow them to continue with school. The alternative is that they end up in low-paying work, or prostitution, and cannot raise their child properly. Their self-esteem is affected, and that certainly affects their children.