I don’t know what the dinosaurs sounded like as they headed off into the tar pits of history but the Thai sex industry is dying in incremental silence. The economic miracle that has swept millions of Thai’s out of poverty in the past twenty years has been consistently driving nails into the coffin of the sex tourism industry, in business terminology it’s a sunset industry. Prostitution will never completely vanish in any country including Thailand. But as in any country which has provided opportunity and education for it’s citizens there are far fewer willing male and female participants for the sex trade than ever before. Too much is made of the history of sex tourism in Thailand by the western media. Too many naive reporters are still titillated by the existence of watered down flesh markets and continue to report unfairly that Thailand is some sort of adult Disney Land for the sexual gratification of western deviants.
Like any western country, the sex workers in Thailand are primarily foreign and/or have been trafficked into the industry by unscrupulous pimps and gangsters. They are compromised by ethnicity, poverty, psychology, lack of education or social circumstance. The majority of women found in the brothels and bars today are from the impoverished villages of the northern states. One group dominates, these are Issan women who originate from Shan communities that hug the borders of Burma, Lao and Cambodia. They are easily recognized by their unique appearance. Most share similar physical features, broad flat facial bones and nose, dark skin color and splayed feet and toes from spending a lifetime bare foot working the rice paddies.
You can tell the newest recruits by how they teeter along in their first set of heels, with toes and flesh hanging over the sides of the narrow platform. For some it will be their first pair of shoes of any kind. The Thai and Russian mobs that control the prostitutes in Pattaya and elsewhere are now having to look farther afield because there is a shortage of Thai women. The gangs are importing prostitutes from the disadvantaged areas of Eastern Europe and the Russia’s. In many cases the women are being tricked by phony labor brokers who promise work as domestics, models and restaurant work ‘overseas’.
The misconceptions that are spread by an ill-informed media contain idea’s such as prostitutes ‘enjoy what they do’. The industry is further perpetuated by the western attitude that is somehow ‘OK’ to exploit these impoverished women who have no other choice to feed themselves and their families except by selling themselves to foreign men. I don’t know how the truth of this fact can make any western man giddy with desire. These women are not willing nurse maids here to solve the sociocultural inadequacies of the western male. These prostitutes are desperate victims and any smiles you may see are the product of pathetic self loathing , drugs , alcohol or all three that keep the women numb from the pain they experience each and every time they are abused. The western man who believes he’s had seven minutes of ‘fun’ with a girl is deeply delusional.
What is it that brings a man from a western democracy to Thailand knowing full well about such things after a lifetime of social education that somehow Asian women are here to be exploited? What is it about a furtive and degrading sexual encounter with a woman who cannot speak more than five words of your language that makes it a ‘sexually satisfying’ experience? She is most likely thinking that she will be able to pay the alley way ‘daycare’ operators who hold her children while she works and how she can supply a meal once she gets through the time she’s sold. Are western women so intimidating by expressing themselves as equals that you are willing to forget that Asian women are human and deserving of respect? The deviant must be able to forgo these basic moral questions in his narcissistic quest to satisfy himself as if it is his right to do so. Fortunately , there are fewer women being exploited in the bars and brothels every year in Thailand. Western men must begin to question their motivations for coming to a country like Thailand to exploit unprivileged women for sexual gratification, that’s not sexy.