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Love Tourism - Hate the Ugly Side Effects

Travel Forums General Talk Love Tourism - Hate the Ugly Side Effects


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1. Posted by nycgirl33 (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

A lot of people talk about eco-tourism but I wonder how many travelers are taking other things into consideration such as trafficking and child prostitution. It's a distasteful topic and a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about it. But sex tourism really hurt my enjoyment of traveling in Thailand, where it's quite out in the open. I've spoken to other people who complain about the same thing. Does anyone else feel this way? In Vietnam I actually saw a 7 year old child who was selling postcards and wearing a t-shirt that read "No Child Sex!" Apparently a local bar gave it to the children to help ward off sex criminals.

I recently learned that Air France shows a video on their flights (I believe Lufthansa and other European airlines do something similar) that warns potential child sex tourists of the possible prosecution of their crime when they return home. It's a great video (you can see it here They have signed onto The Code of Conduct, an initiative that requires tour agencies, hotels, restaurants, and airlines to follow a six point plan. Part of this plan includes educating their customers through posters and brochures...telling them sex with a child is a crime. They also agree to work only with vendors who agree to fight child sex tourism. The website,, has a list of businesses worldwide who have signed on. Unfortunately, only Carlson company (owners of Radisson) have signed on. No US airlines and no other hotels have agreed. And US citizens account for about 25% of child sex tourists.

I wanted to share this information for anyone who chooses to support businesses like Air France, Radisson and the hundreds of other businesses who are supporting this important fight. We can also encourage other businesses to sign on by bringing our money to those who care to protect children. They should not have to wear a t-shirt to protect them from exploitation by heartless tourists. Thanks for listening.

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

I believe that the emphasis on 'eco-tourism' has rightfully changed (well, in Netherlands at least) to 'sustainable tourism', which includes the other side-effects you mention.

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Nycgirl33

Of course child prostitution is tragic.
At least, an effort is being made stop it.
There is a global organisation set up, to end it. If u see any signs of child prostitution, or child porn u can report it, to them.
They are called
End Child Prostitution and Traffic International
In Thailand, the place to report it is
Tel 0 2215 3388
328 Th Phayathai, Bangkok 10400

I have no objection to adult prostitution, in itself, so long as there is no exploitation, or danger. But unfortunately, I think this is often not the case.
In Thailand, the government take very little care of their people, when they fall on hard times. Often women have to resort to prostitution, to survive.

Thanks for that information Nygirl. It is so important for us to have information, in order to do what we can, to combat abuse, in the world.


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 15, 2007, at 3:00 AM by Mel. ]

4. Posted by danalasta (Travel Guru 519 posts) 9y

Mel, your reasoning for the profileration of prostitution in Thailand is, I think, needs to be elaborated. By saying ( to quote you) ..."In Thailand, the government take very little care of their people, when they fall on hard times. Often women have to resort to prostitution, to survive." you are making an assumption, and it is a generalisation.

Prostitution has been a way of life in Thailand from time immemorial, and has not been considered an evil by Thai society. The blame can be found in the habits of Thai men, the government’s focus on foreign tourism, and in the inactivity and lack of concern of Christian churches and Buddhist temples. The latter take the position of "Hear no evil; See no evil; Speak no evil," and do little or nothing to counter the evil of prostitution.

In Thailand the position of women is a traditional one, remaining from the traditional position they have been assigned in Thai Buddhism. This is found in the traditional cultural attitudes of Thai men, and in the consequences of military presence, and its resulting culture of recreational sex. The social turmoil in Thailand provoked by World War II was a seedbed for the growth of prostitution in the country. It spurred the first example of a sex entertainment center for international tourists in Thailand.

The Vietnam War and the resultant R&R activities of service men in Thailand led to a dramatic increase in the use of Thai prostitutes by foreigners in the country. This period was followed by an aggressive tourism campaign, which encouraged tourists to come in great numbers. Most of these tourists were single men. The rapid increase in commercialization was encouraged by the news media.

Tourism has brought enormous growth in the construction of hotels, golf courses, condominiums, restaurants and various kinds of entertainment in the cities, and in provincial villages as well. Tourism’s impact on the sex industry — to what is now called sex tourism — has been a major contemporary contributor to the growth of child prostitution in Thailand.

There are two parts to the Thai policy of promoting tourism: one is to sell the physical and cultural beauty of the country; the other is to promote the Thai people, which of course includes sex-related services. "Amazing Thailand," a tourism campaign from 1998-99, promoted to foreign men to come and see Thailand’s beautiful women… and to enjoy the thriving sex industry.

The men arrive from Europe and the US, and often a bus is waiting at the airport to take them straight to the girls. All of this is organized through the Internet — and not only in Bangkok.

Sex tours encourage men to do something in a foreign country that they would not do in their own country. Sex tours degrade a country’s reputation. Sex tours are immoral. Sex tours spread disease. Sex tours treat girls and women like commodities, not persons — not like they are children of God.


5. Posted by george1979 (Full Member 101 posts) 9y

on this disturbing and sickening topic - i plan to visit Thailand this year and this has been a concern of mine. Mainly that it would be everywhere and it may ruin my visit to the country (hope that doesn't sound too selfish but as a tourist all i can really do is to stay away from it and not allow my money to help fuel it). Exactly how prevalent is it? I am aware from talking to other people to avoid Pattaya like the plague but is it all over the the main town and cities or is it contained to so called "red light" districts like Pattaya and areas of Bangkok? The thought of being anywhere near it makes my skin crawl.

6. Posted by danalasta (Travel Guru 519 posts) 9y

Travel to Thailand- as you would to any other country - because you want to experience, feel, learn and treasure the positive values. Sex tourism thrives everywhere - by degrees. Pattaya, despite its reputation has worthy attractions...enough to keep you away from "wasteful pursuits". Plan your itinerary and stick to it.


7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello George

I think all Western looking men get endless offers, from women, in Thailand. From what I have heard, from guys I spoke with, the women are rather insistant and dont easily take no, for an answer.
I dont know, if it gets annoying, for guys. They didnt say. But dont let it ruin your trip. Lots of guys go to Thailand, and have a good time, who are not interested, in sex tourism.


8. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

danalasta - you have an interesting perspective on the prostitution issue in Thailand.

I disagree with you about the cultural attitude of the Thais regarding prostitution. I'm not Thai but living in southern California, where there's a large Thai population. I know many Thais and have had Thai friends and I don't think I've met one who's not ashamed with the prostitution problem in Thailand. These people are generally well-educated middle class and their perspective is that Thai national politics is paralyzed by corruption and those at the top have benefited financially from drug/sex/sea piracy industries for the last 50-60 years. Thai people are very nice but the military is another beast; they are one big incorporated mafia. Poor Thais from the country-side cannot easily migrate and find work in the cities without proper documents. They must have work permits, which are very expensive and almost impossible to obtain, to find employment in the cities. This is the hurdle that Thais stricken with poverty cannot easily overcome. In desperation, families let their children go with those who promise "work in the city". The system rigged to generate a steady flow of under-age prostitutes, plain and simple.

Historically, China, Vietnam and Thailand have had prostitution/drug enclaves that served mostly Westerners since the time Europeans set foot on the Asian continent. In fact, colonial Britain made it her primary objective to dope up the Chinese upper class with opium. No other industry generated as much wealth as opium did for Britain during the 19th century. When the Communists took over in '49, they made a it mission to extinguish this cancer by moving addicts to labor camps and/or executed them. The Communists in Vietnam also attempted to do the same. Saigon (HCM City) was once a big opium den and brothel during the French and then GI days. It's becoming a problem again since Vietnam opened its doors to trade and tourism.

Every country has problems with prostitution. For example, beautiful San Francisco was once a big drink & f**k town during the Gold Rush (1850s). SF was perhaps the biggest joint for outlaws during its hey days! And Las Vegas is still going strong but very regulated. Amsterdam, Hamburg and other European cities have managed to put prostitution under control by policing it... heck, prostitutes must pay taxes and get regular blood tests! There's nothing wrong with recreational sex if it's not abusive to those who chose that line of work and it doesn't create bigger social ills. I've seen interviews where Thai government officials declare "Prostitution is illegal in Thailand, so prostitution doesn't exist!" Now that is an attitude! The Thai government's inaction with regards to prostitution in general, and under-age prostitution specifically, represents a collapse of moral and socio-political system. When they let a sick, obese man of 50 f**k the brains out of a 10-yr old boy, it's not simply a social attitude! There are activists who have spent their lives promoting safe sex to the young generation in Thailand. However, they don't get political in their message unless they want to become moving targets. Things can change if the government and the ruling class find the guts to take action. The bottom line is if they don't care for their own, who will?

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 18, 2007, at 2:09 PM by Dezafinado ]

9. Posted by oslaue (Full Member 571 posts) 9y

prostitution = job!

child sex = crime!

its really as simple as that! those who get involed in prostitution faces the risks!

thailand? forget about thailand! its happening all over the world!

no one is technically forced into prostitution but kids are...thats the real difference...

its really amazing! people complain about thailand for prostitution (normal prostitution) people of europe...take a look at our own front door! amsterdam....and some of the women love what they do!

in relation to san fran...i only know one thing about it...and its full of fags!

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 18, 2007, at 2:48 PM by oslaue ]

10. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Do the government and the churches turn a blind eye to murder?

If not, then someone should set up a business that specialises in rifle shooting, and take people to areas where child prostitution is rife so that the tourists can shoot the people preying on the children.

Now that would be fun!