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

Hello Danalasta

In response to your post, which started with Mel(so I presume u wanted me to discuss your opinions, with u), I agree with Dezafinado.
S/he has expressed exactly the opinion I have, based on my current knowledge and experience of Thailand.

Mel

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

U are right, Oslaue.
Prostitution takes place all over the world and child prostitution is an especially bad crime.
Maybe even child prostitution takes place in all countries.
That is the reason, i gave the name of a global organisation, that is working to put a stop to child prostitution.

Mel

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

hmmm child prostitution might exist in all countrys in the world but in thailand and poorer developed countrys it might be seen.

in europe it is way harder to find it, to witness it etc and much much not accepted.

i mean our governments are very tough on child prostitution were the thai government might be as well but not as tough;)

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

Thanks for engaging this issue so intelligently. My original reply focused on child prostitution, which all good people can agree is abhorrent. Since the topic of adult prostitution came up and there are always apologists for it, I would like to say a few things. A good amount of adult prostitutes were put into it at an early age, often as young as 12 or 13. It's hard to say that their lifestyle is a real choice as they were told at a young age they're good for nothing but pleasing men. Also, research has shown that prostitutes have extremely high rates of rape, physical beatings, sexual torture, and post traumatic stress disorder. In fact, they rate as high or higher than soldiers returning from war in terms of PTSD. This you can see on the website prostitutionresearch.com although there are other studies that have shown this result. An overwhelming number say they want out of the business but don't know what to do to make their money. Drugs often are used to numb the pain or prostitution is resorted to to pay for these drugs.

Additionally, many say this is an old "profession" and has been a part of all countries since the beginning of time. I'm not sure that as something gets older it makes it more ok or more innocent. Murder is as old as man's existence and it's not acceptable. Why? Because it kills someone and is irreversible. Once we begin to understand and stop ignoring what this life of prostitution does to these ladies, we will be able to accept that it does kill them in a spirtual and emotional way. It takes a long time for them to recover or gain any kind of self esteem. Unfortunately, there are few organizations that help adjust women to life outside of prostitution.

I also want to say that men don't understand what it means for a woman to do this for a living. Having sex with 10 men in one day is a physically extreme thing to do and can't be very much fun. It's tough on the body and the mind. Physical side effects are long lasting from this not to mention exposure to disease. Also, the men who frequent prostitutes don't all look like Richard Gere or are as clean and sweet. They use these women as throw aways (hence the violence against them) and demand what they want from the women even if the women don't want it. Non-compliance can mean a beating from a pimp or a customer. Also, we don't know which of these women are there "of their own free will" or as victims of trafficking, tricked into going overseas then held against their will at the risk of beatings, rapes, or even murder. If you don't know which kind of girl she is, how can you proceed with any conscience about it?

Thanks for listening.

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

Dezafinado -I think you have missed the point I was trying to make. I was not attempting to relate the cultural attitude of the Thais to prostitution.. Rather, I was referring to their cultural attitude steeped in Buddhism which has moulded the role of both men and women in the Thai society and still prevalent in rural Thailand.

The Thai culture - like any other cultures, does not advocate nor condone prostitution. True, prostitution has always been there - albeit to serve the needs of locals even before Buddhism found its way there.

Thailand for decades stood as one of the most stable and dynamic nations in the region. At a crossroads of Chinese and Indian civilizations, the fabled land of Siam knew how to preserve herself from the European colonization that came to rule all of her neighbours.

And since World War II, as the ‘Land of the Free’, the country which was once deeply steeped in Buddhism was widely opened to the outside world with tags such as "The Land of Smiles" ( yes, all the girls smile, you hear?), and more sinfully as the "Semen Collection Centre", the "Last Place You Can Be A White Man," ( plucked from the website of a bar-owning sexpat who who aruges that Thailand is the place to be for those men who are fed up with the ball-breaking females (feminazis) they have to deal with back at home). Yes, in the Land of Smiles, the women wash your feet, bathe before sex, they are submissive and fulfil your fanstasies,etc...

Word travels to the poverty stricken rural side, and what we hear ? "The land a girl child ploughs lies between her legs," goes a saying from rural Thailand. So we have girls being bundled off to "semen collection centres" to satiate the needs of foreigners. Bangkok's Thaniya Road is flooded with Japanese sex tourists and businessmen while the Sutthisan Road is an enclave for visiting Singaporeans and Taiwanese seeking a slice of "Thailand by Night". In the south, you have Sungai Golok and Hat Yai for Malaysians and Indonesians.

To Westerners, Thailand is first and foremost a tourist destination – and might as well be, since the country has for years pushed tourism as one of its main foreign-currency earners. The three Ps – Pattaya, Phuket and Patpong – for the three Ss – sea, sun and… smiles – are on every man jack’s must-do list. With luck or pluck, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui too. Beyond that? Full moon parties?Sex for hire caddies?

And then what? We have NGOs coming in to repair the rot! That's another story. Suffice to say of the 21 agencies and NGOs working from Bangkok on the trafficking problem, not one has managed to set up a 24-hour hotline where foreign visitors can report it actually happening! So what are they doing? I will respond to this in Mel's posting on BKK-based Ecpat (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes). More relevant there!

dana

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 20, 2007, at 12:18 AM by danalasta ]

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

Quoting Mel.

U are right, Oslaue.
Prostitution takes place all over the world and child prostitution is an especially bad crime.
Maybe even child prostitution takes place in all countries.
That is the reason, i gave the name of a global organisation, that is working to put a stop to child prostitution.
Mel

Thailand has been considerably abused by statisticians and NGOs. Claims that there are 2m or more prostitutes in the population of 64m, as was once stated in a Time cover story, are absurd. This much-quoted figure was drawn from the statistics of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, an international NGO. If true, it would mean that one in four Thai women between the ages of 15 and 29 in Thailand was a prostitute.

Ecpat (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), which you mention, claimed in the mid-1990s that there were up to 800,000 Thai child prostitutes—a lunatic figure that still circulates in the US state department.

The trade in humans across the borders of southeast Asia is a real and ugly story, but it continues to throw up incredible statistics—perhaps because it is an issue that generates large amounts of aid dollars.

There are 21 UN agencies and NGOs based in Bangkok which concern themselves with trafficking. The Boxing day tsunami predictably generated a trafficking angle. Within a few days, aid agencies led by Unicef were issuing grim warnings of orphans being sold for adoption or the sex trade. The western media got particularly excited by the picture of an angelic Nordic child, supposedly stolen from a Thai hospital.

This proved baseless, and there has yet to emerge a single credible example of a tsunami child, blond or brown, being sold. But the story has flourished in the global consciousness, leaving the few facts from which it seeded far behind.

The sex industry in Thailand generates fantasies. There are the fantasies of pliant girls which draw the western sex tourists, and then there are the fantasies of lurid exploitation which draw the western moralisers and NGOs.And how serious is the trafficking problem?

I will not go into statistics but I firmly believe that this is one area which everyone agrees something must be done.

Worrying about trafficking is another business, employing its own community of expats in Bangkok, which is the southeast Asian hub for many international NGOs. Thirteen UN agencies and eight international NGOs are involved in anti-trafficking work, so many that a further UN body (Uniap, the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region) was established in 2000, employing 18 people, to co-ordinate them and all the international NGOs (Save the Children, Oxfam and so on) which run programmes or policies on trafficking in the six countries through which the Mekong river flows.

Donors—particularly the US and British governments—throw millions of dollars at trafficking every year. Spending on the issue has shot up during the Bush administration—it was $50m in 2003—for which the trafficking of women and children for sex is an ideal target for foreign aid.

It fits the demands of an ideological morality that says that in essence all sex issues should be dealt with by abstinence. And it's about defenceless kids and teenagers.Within Unicef they are seen as "a great collecting bucket," a reliable method of raising funds that can then be spent on less donor-thrilling projects, like education or immunisation.

Do you know hardly a fortnight in Bangkok goes by without a seminar, conference or children's forum, organised by Uniap or others?

Let me explain what transpired during the "post-Yokohama mid-term review of the east Asia and Pacific regional commitment and action plan against commercial sexual exploitation of children," held by Unescap (UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific), Unicef and Ecpat in Nov in BKK.

This three-day meeting, attended by delegates from more than 20 countries, was to report on what had happened since the last such meeting three years earlier in Yokohama. The only concrete development, it seemed, was the signing in Myanmar a month earlier by ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam of a "memorandum of understanding to co-ordinate action to prevent trafficking." This was being hailed as a big achievement. But it was also noted that "a lack of reliable data remains a major hindrance to the implementation of well-targeted and effective measures to stop the commercial sexual exploitation of children."

Everyone in the anti-trafficking industry is painfully aware that there is no real data at all (except for some arrests, prosecutions and some gruesome anecdotes).

But we see NGOs and agencies, dishing out figures...For instance Oxfam India says that in Delhi alone child-trafficking was a business worth $1m a day.Another agency claimd the child sex trade has a $7bn annual turnover in Asia (the truth is this is the global value of the trade!).

These numbers are endlessly parroted by lobbyists and journalists, and never, challenged. The trade in humans is an area where anyone seems pretty much able to say anything. Why? Because trafficking is a dangerous word..It stops the brain working!

It's not like measuring HIV infections, or seeing if children have access to safe drinking water.

Just do a Google search on the number of girls trafficked each year from Nepal to India. What you will get is a figure of 5,000-7,000 and dates back from a 1986 NGOs' seminar carried in the Times of India. This figure is still quoted by the World Bank and USAid, and more recently (Feb 2005) in a Unicef paper and on the website of the Catholic aid agency APHD.

Shortly after the tsunami, Unicef started raising the spectre of orphans from the disaster being preyed upon and sold for sex, quoting "reports" of this having already happened. This was seized on by other agencies, and doubtless brought more money into appeal funds that were, as some organisations will admit, already subscribed beyond the organisations' ability to spend the cash. (Privately, the agencies are staggered at the success of their appeals. One international NGO says it will take eight years to spend the money donated in the first month after the wave hit.).

No one at Unicef has come up with a credible example of a tsunami orphan being sold for sex.

Formerly one of the worst offenders with exaggerated numbers, Ecpat now says it bases its statistics on figures provided by national governmental bodies. The truth is even government figures are underestimates.

Teenagers, research shows, are brought into the trade not principally because of the dedicated paedophiles we read so much about, but because youth is a valuable commodity. Men like to buy sex with young women...a renewable resource for the tourists that is not in danger of running out—the supply of poor, smiling women. The demand factor lies with the man with the wallet..NGOs should reassess their approach!

dana

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

Hello Oslaue

I think in countries, where there is more poverty, prostitution is more likely. I think when there is desperate poverty, that is when there is a high incidence of child prostitution.

I have read, that in Thailand, there is no social welfare. What does a person without an income do? Or a person, who is unable or unavailable to work? I read, that a lot of the prostitutes in Thailand are single mothers, who are poorly educated from villages in Thailand. It is terrible, that people can be so desperately poor, that they would need their childrens to work and tragic that some of these children work as prostitutes.

Mel

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

Hello NYCgirl

I can well believe, that there would be post traumatic stress suffered by prostitutes.
There is a lot of media attention focused on the post traumatic stress soldiers suffer(and so there should be), but way too little on others who suffer it.

Thanks for the information. I think information is the first step, to developing human rights.

Mel

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

Danalasta

Maybe Thailand has been abused by statistics, or maybe not, and maybe or maybe not all the rest of what u said.
But it is a fact, that child prostitution is a tragedy, wherever, whenever...
Of course, as NYCgirl pointed out, prostitutition is also a sad life for many others.
What do u think, we can do to help those who are trapped, in such a life?

Mel

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

Dana makes some great points about the data. We can imagine how hard it is to accurately count trafficked persons and/or those caught in child prostitution. These are underground operations. NGOs are fighting uphill battles trying to get to exploited populations and trying to get corrupt governments to help arrest, prosecute, and prevent. No doubt they do all they can and maybe all tactics aren't the most effective but I assume they try many different things. But even if someone says the number is 800,000 and it's actually 300,000, isn't it all worth it to help 300,000 children? What about 100,000 children? I think most people would say yes.

But I think you're right in saying that demand is a major issue.

A friend of mine is a gov't policy analyst. He says supply side is really the most realistic way to fight this. Creating effective legislation in western countries that allows the government to seek out, arrest, prosecute anyone involved...period. Let's face it, western men are the major driving force of demand although men in poor countries are guilty, too. Make it hard on the preditors/pimps/traffickers who are taking advantage of these women and children. Throw them in prison, crush their supply lines, don't penalize or prosecute the women/children...help them get a better life.

Developed nations ought to tie their aid to poor countries to how those countries crush corruption. If you're easy on corruption, then we're cutting funding (not on things like AIDS prevention but loans, etc). It's about getting this issue onto the agenda of legislators. If they think their constituents care, then they will care because it means votes.

What does that mean for us? I think it means talking about it (like we are now), writing our congressmen or members of parliament, using any influence to make it an issue that people feel is tied into the other major issues that we feel are important: AIDS, poverty, globalization, etc. Because it is. And when they get fired up, when corporations or anyone with money or a loud voice sees it's important, it gets raised to the national stage. Then the politicians know they need to talk about it.