Causes of Sex Trafficking in Thailand

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Keng, a post trafficking victim who turned into a trafficker herself, told BBC reporter that she goes to Bangkok to seek 11-13 years-old boys and bring them to Pattaya into prostitution. “Some of them haven’t eaten properly for weeks – but we still lock them in the attic at the bar, partly so they won’t escape, partly so that the police or rescue agencies can’t find them’, said Keng. According to U.S. Department State, “Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.” Sex trafficking affects individuals both physically and mentally. Victims are limited their freedom. They usually experience abusive violence and threatens. In many cases, traffickers will feed workers drug to make them addicted, so they will work for drugs in order to feel better. Sex trafficking leads to sexual disease, HIV, abortion, post trauma, drug addiction, depression and suicide. It also affects the country’s image and reputation. Sex trafficking is a very complex issue that caused by many factors. Some of them are education, poverty, sex tourism and corruption.

Lack of quality education and poverty are major causes of sex trafficking on individuals. Poverty is one of the biggest issues in Thailand and neighborhood countries. One resolution to fix the problem as a whole is education. Unfortunately, the problem seems to be unable to fixed in near future. Many schools in poor and rural area don’t have enough fund to provide quality education. One teacher has to teach 5 different subjects and holds overload responsibilities. In addition, lack of fund to improve roads and transportation makes it’s harder for some students to attend school. Children and youths in many developing countries, especially in poor areas, can’t access to good education to gain degrees, knowledge or skills needed to get well-paid job. When they have to support their family to make a living but can’t find a decent job, desperation can lead them to being trapped in sex trafficking.

Many young girls in rural villages are forced or sent by their families to work in major city like Bangkok. Burma is one of the top countries that people leave their home to find jobs in Thailand illegally. According to UNESCO, only 50% of Burmese children continue to study in secondary level. Lack of education and poverty force them to seek a new life in Thailand. Many of them are lured into sex business because they don’t know their rights, law, how to seek helps, not to mention language barrier and fear of being exiled from the country. Traffickers use these immigrants’ weakness to trick them into chain of human trafficking by promising working opportunity, even a better life, but immigrants need to pay extra fee to get a job leading to debt bondage that immigrants work endlessly to pay and get nearly nothing back. Without knowledge of their rights it seems like there’s no way to get the chain out.

Other factors that causes sex trafficking are sex tourism and corruption. Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for sex tourism. In 2007 NGOs estimated that there were 60,000 prostitutes in the country under the age of 18. According to UNAIDS, the number of sex workers is as high as 140,000 in 2014. Even though prostitution is illegal, sex industry is one of the major economic supports of the country. It’s estimated that 10% of all tourists spends money on the sex trade. Young girls and boys, especially virgins, are valuable to this billion-dollar business. This results in sex trafficking in order to find vulnerable youths to fill in demanding positions. Thailand has a bad image because of sex trafficking.

So why can’t the government get rid of it till nowadays? The simple answer is corruption. One well-known destination for sex tourism is red light district in Pattaya, which represents how corrupted the society is. Russian mafia, yakuza, Chinese mafia, even local groups established their sex business in this area importing women, men, girls and boys from other parts of Thailand and other countries like, Burma, Lao, Russia and China, under local police protection. A clear example to show the corruption is a prostitute walking street in the red-light district. As you walk through the street you can see tons of prostitutes standing and waiting for customers. Ironically, you can also see police walking around acting like nothing illegally is going on.

As sex trafficking has long history in Thailand, lack of education and poverty can lure, or even force desperate individuals into prostitution. Moreover, if the country lets sex tourism and corruption go on, sex trafficking will never disappear from the society. As Thai people, first, we have to face the ugly truth that we’re not what we trick ourselves to believe. We’re not the land of smile but a corrupted country. As a human being as same as those victims, we have to look out for those, offer helps, speak their silence and keep raising awareness. The most important solution is that governments has to take serious action by improving economy, education as well as going against corruption, roots of human trafficking. Ignorance is bliss. It’s easy to forget about the issue and pretend that it’s not there. While we’re enjoying time with family in a safe loving home, those victims are suffering in slavery. Ask yourself, are we burying them alive with our ignorance?

Works Cited

  1. “Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons :2017 Trafficking in Persons Report.” state.gov. U.S. Department of State, Web. Nov. 17, 2018.
  2. “Dying to Leave Human Trafficking Worldwide: Thailand.” pbs.org. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Sep. 2, 2013. Web. Nov. 18, 2018.
  3. “Education: All Children should have access to quality education.” unicef.org. Unicef Thailand, Web. Nov. 19,2018
  4. “Education.” myanmar.savethechildren.net. Save the Children International, Web. Nov.19, 2018
  5. Reyes, Cazzie “History of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in Thailand.” endslaverynow.org. End Slavery Now, Oct. 8, 2015. Web. Nov. 19, 2018.
  6. Small, Andrew “The origins and harsh reality of human trafficking in Thailand.” blogs.lse.ac.uk. LSE Human Rights, April 24, 2015. Web. Nov. 19, 2018.
  7. “Education in Burma.” oxfordburmaalliance.org. Oxford Burma Alliance, Web. Nov. 19, 2018.
  8. Forwerck, Madeline. “ 10 Facts About Education in Thailand.” borgenproject.org. The Borgen Project, June 21, 2017. Web. Nov. 19, 2018.
  9. Saengpassa, Chularat. “Depth of child trafficking to Thailand exposed in report.” nationmultimedia.com. The Nation, Aug. 11,2017. Web. Nov. 20, 2018.
  10. Mutch, Thembi “Thailand’s child trafficking industry.” news.bbc.co.uk. BBC News, Jul. 7, 2007.Web. Nov. 20, 2018.

Cite this paper

Causes of Sex Trafficking in Thailand. (2022, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/causes-of-sex-trafficking-in-thailand/



How did sex trafficking start in Thailand?
Sex trafficking in Thailand started when women were recruited to work in brothels servicing American troops during the Vietnam War. The women were promised good jobs and wages, but were instead forced into sexual servitude.
What is the leading cause of sex trafficking?
The leading cause of sex trafficking is the demand for commercial sex. The demand for commercial sex fuels the demand for sex trafficking.
Why is human trafficking so big in Thailand?
Trafficking is big in Thailand because there is high demand for cheap labor and sexual services, and there is a large supply of poor, vulnerable people.
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