My last blog entry was about Nana Entertainment Plaza, a center of sex tourism in Bangkok. As a follow-up, here are a few quick facts about the sex industry in Thailand, mostly from Wikipedia:
- Although Thailand has had a long history of prostitution, Thai sex tourism originated during the Vietnam War, providing a venue for "rest and relaxation" for American servicemembers.
- Thailand's Health System Research Institute reports that 40% of the prostitutes in Thailand are children. However, the workers I saw at NEP did not appear to be children.
- Thailand is considered among the the world's top destinations for human trafficking victims, and also is a major source of trafficked persons. Some of the sex workers in Thailand are trafficking victims, either from Thailand or elsewhere.
- Ethnic minorities such as people from the northern hill tribes are at high risk for trafficking within Thailand and abroad. The destruction of traditional hill tribe economies due to opium suppression programs has exacerbated the problem.
- Thais from the impoverished northeast sometimes become trafficking victims.
- People from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and China are sometimes trafficked into Thailand to work in the sex industry.
- Thai women are sometimes trafficked to Japan where they are sold by yakuza (Japanese mafia)-controlled brothels and forced to work off their price.
- An NGO called Empower, http://www.empowerfoundation.org/index_en.html, provides services to sex workers and recognizes that while some sex workers are human trafficking victims, others are migrant sex workers who are working to support their impoverished families.