Trafficking in Thailand

to the johns

Posted in Uncategorized by constancedykhuizen on November 22, 2010
to the men who come to thailand to buy sex,
the number of thai women who truly desire to have sex with you for money has got to be infinitesimal. the number of you who will this not to be true tells me that you’re subsisting on some type of delusion. i would like to dispel some of the myths about who these women are that you have come to thailand to enjoy. to them, you have become either an enforced burden or an economic necessary evil, but either way, they have to pretend to enjoy your company. i don’t say these things to change your mind because your mind is made up, i just want to point out how truly heinous your actions are.
i have heard from some of you that sex workers need work and that you believe you are helping them to support their families. if you are so concerned with the welfare of thailand’s women, i invite you to support any number of the microfinance institutions that provide loans to women and families to help themselves get out of poverty. having women rent out their vaginas has never been a path to economic prosperity for any individual or a collective nation. sex work is illegal, anyhow, so profits go untaxed and thailand as a whole doesn’t benefit (though taxes do exist in the form of bribes that go to already wealthy and unscrupulous individuals).
now that i’ve addressed the sex-as-charity myth, there’s the issue of women choosing this work of their own volition. many foreign men assert that the women are there of their own free will. thais believe that prostitutes and bar girls are simply victims of their own karma. in this line of thinking, women either chose to be there or deserve to be there, so what’s the big deal, right?
  • sex workers are often immigrants, be they laotian, burmese or cambodian, essentially economic refugees.
  • almost all are poor and uneducated. you don’t go from college to sex work in this country.
  • many are children. an estimated third of thailand’s sex industry is underage.
  • in one study, 40% of prostitutes had been physically abused as a child
  • in that same study, 48% had been sexually assaulted
immigrants, poor women, victims of sexual assault and children don’t exactly make up an empowered citizen class. i would argue that for these women this work was against their will. even for those girls who willfully enter prostitution, that’s not to say that they would still like to remain in the lifestyle.
once in the life of prostitution, it is difficult for many girls to leave. families come to depend on the income and their increased standard of living, debts accrue with bar owners or pimps and the women have few career options available to them. sadly, her life has already been altered past the point of free will. the life of a sex worker is fraught with physical and mental insecurity, violence and addictions that she may never be able to get out of:
  • in one study, researchers found that 57% of sex workers surveyed had been raped in prostitution
  • 55% of the women were physically assaulted in prostitution
  • 56% suffered past or current homelessness
  • 47% had pornography made of them while they were in prostitution
  • of that same group surveyed, coping mechanisms like drug and alcohol addiction were rampant (56% and 39%, respectively)
  • some are HIV+. an estimated 19% of freelance sex workers in bangkok are HIV+ (though it drops considerably for bars girls) once they are HIV+, there’s even fewer places for them to find work and acceptance due to social stigma
anecdotally, one of the women i know entered prostitution after being raped while she was homeless, and she is now addicted to alcohol and drugs and suffers from a psychological disorder. she may get up and go to work every day, but this is not the life she chose.
to those of you who act like the women will suffer no consequences in the future, let me share the fate of women in thailand after they’ve left prostitution:
  • some of them will have a child (possibly yours) and will probably be unable to care for the child until they have stopped sex work, leaving them with a family member in another province.
  • some of them will contract HIV either servicing farangs or later when they begin servicing thai men and pass it to their children or husbands.
  • many will be ostracized from their communities or families because while they are accepted, sex workers are rarely welcomed
another defense is that farang men are but a small part of thailand’s sex trade. while there are an estimated 500,000 sex tourists a year in thailand, there are 4.6 million thai men that regularly visit sex workers. this disparity aside, you foreigners are the most visible population abusing women. your presence contributes to the environment of violence against women. your actions are criminal, even though they may not be treated that way by authorities in thailand.
some of you don’t possess notions of helping anyone or try to defend your actions at all; you realize how lucky you are to be able to live your extra-legal fantasies in a place like thailand. as one ugly old man said to me, “where else in the world could an old man like me f— an 18 year old girl?” you’re quite right, sir. thailand is a place uniquely set up to host your delusion that it is acceptable to behave the way you do.
i am writing all of this because as i walk around nana, uneasy and slightly sick, i’m unable to think of any recourse. i don’t know how to say “shame on you” in arabic or german. me throwing a tantrum at patpong isn’t going to help these women. besides, there are so many of you, from australia, from saudi arabia, from nigeria, from the UK and from the US. you are teenagers and businessmen and church going men and vietnam veterans. to all of you, this is what i have to say:
i know these numbers have little effect on you. i know i haven’t convinced you of anything. you pay for sex with women because you are pathologically selfish and therefore able to deny the reality that these women are being exploited and abused by you and by their country. these statistics aren’t going to penetrate your resolve. to you and your ego, your actions seem isolated and insignificant, but i want you to know that you are a drop in the tide of violence and abuse that has beaten down women in thailand for generations. you may not think you are part of the problem, but you are the problem. please leave.
sincerely,
a woman who came to thailand to keep other women from having to have sex for money

One Response

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  1. Black Market said, on May 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Do you have any data on how many foreign men visit Thailand each year? I remember seeing it somewhere and I can remember where. I think it was something crazy like over 50 percent are going to Thailand by themselves for sex.


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