Prostitution and sex trafficking in Thailand are highly visible and strongly discussed topics in the contemporary antislavery field. Social attitudes, political interventions and economic realities have shaped the conditions that allow the two practices to continue. From the mids to the mids prostitution was legal and taxed by the Thai government. The late s to the s witnessed an influx in the number of Chinese labor workers and sex workers coming to Thailand. Prostitution flourished especially after the abolishment of slavery in as former slave wives under the feudal system found themselves alone and without financial support.
Escaping the clutches of sex trafficking in Thailand
Thailand: Sex Tourism and Commercial Sexual Expoitation | Pulitzer Center
An Uzbek woman who was trafficked to Thailand and forced to sell sex shares the story of her escape. Since emerging as an independent nation in , after nearly years of Russian and then Soviet rule, Uzbekistan has slowly seen some economic progress. But poverty and unemployment remain high and many Uzbeks travel abroad for work. This leaves the men, women and children vulnerable to forced labour and sex trafficking. Born into a large, impoverished family, the year-old says life was difficult growing up. Her mother died in , leaving her father, a builder, to care for his four children.
The Economics of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
In Thailand, a tourist with money is tourist with unchecked power. Women and girls from poor rural families make up the majority of sex workers in Thailand. As a result of the current economic downturn, hundreds of factories and projects have closed across Thailand, leaving thousands of workers—both Thai and non-Thai—unemployed, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review.
Since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown March 18, halting most business and inbound flights, though, her clientele has vanished — and with it her livelihood. The red-light districts of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, once throbbing with dance music and a rainbow of neon lights, have gone quiet and dark. For all its typically gaudy pomp, though, Thailand's sex industry is technically illegal, which makes it hard to take its measure. Estimates of the number of people the industry puts to work range from , to , Empower and others say the vast majority are now out of a job, and quickly burning through their modest savings and belongings.