I read the Bangkok Post this morning, as I do every day. It’s never completely amazing to read the words of yet another government official giving the nod to the sex industry in Thailand. Today’s announcement is to boost the numbers of LGBT tourists to Thailand to gain from “the increased spending ability of this group”. The official says ” the rest of the world has made sex tourism less accessible while we are making it more accessible”. Read the article here:
I found it somewhat contradictory to also read that the number of HIV infections among foreign tourists has increased. Apparently, ‘they and their prostitutes get drunk and forget to wear condoms’. Now personally, if I was at the epicenter of a global health crisis I would not be promoting increased risk of pandemic…but maybe that’s just me. The Thai government has their sights set on earning two trillion baht from overall tourism this year…sad that it has to be on the backs of poor women…many who have little choice other than to prostitute themselves to drunken farang.
I question the logic and morality of the governments business decision to encourage prostitution as a viable ‘profession’. The Thai government would insist that as a farang I can never understand Thainess and am therefore instinctively biased, unable to understand the Asian mind or heart. I answer by stating that many ASEAN and aligned countries have decided that their uneducated women and girls are not irretrievably disposable.
There are alternatives to prostitution work…I refer to one program that has been very successful throughout South East Asia, Africa and India….The Barefoot Teachers College..an NGO that trains women in skill based knowledge that they can transfer back to their rural villages and improve their own and the lives of their families and communities as an example.
Barefoot Teachers started as a shoestring organization to teach rural Indian women how to address the poverty they faced in remote villages. The organization has developed into an international effort that gives women an opportunity to train in a variety of ‘professions’ towards a sustainable lifestyle. NGO teaching centers like ‘Friends’ in Cambodia have taken street children and the disadvantaged in that country and given them hope for a better future by teaching them food service and entrepreneurial skill sets.
I will continue to pray for the future of Thailand’s poor to have something other than prostitution to rely on for a means to put food on the table.