Thailand: Sex Tourism, Exploited Women

The vast economic disparities between Thai locals and Thailand's tourists have long enabled affluent foreigners to request massages with "happy ending specials" or "rent a girlfriend/boyfriend" for a holiday. Now, the global economic crisis has spawned a more twisted form of entertainment. Unlike brothels or strip clubs, "ping pong shows" do not lure clients through promises of sexual arousal, but promises of sexual perversion and sexual torture. One older woman with a scar across her belly from a c-section confides after her freak show performance, "I don't like being here because I feel dirty." She adds, "I left my village when my factory closed."

Nobody knows exactly when Ping-Pong Shows began and Thai women were reduced to circus animals, but these shows are increasingly raunchy and dangerous as tourists' threshold for shock increases. "Thailand: Sex Tourism, Exploited Women" exposes how the economic crisis has changed the nature of sex tourism in Thailand. This is a story where the messy intersection of class, race and sexuality are taken to their disturbing, but logical, extremes.

Ping-Pong Hell

In Thailand, a misogynistic sex-show industry coerces women to torture themselves. Now the global economic crisis is making matters worse.

Child Sex Boom Fueled by Poverty

BANGKOK, Thailand — Narisaraporn Asipong, a matronly social worker at the "Mercy Center" shelter met 8-year-old Niran (a pseudonym) five years ago in Klong Toey, Bangkok's largest concentration of slum communities.

"His step-father was beating him so he was scared to go home," says Asipong, who has worked with street children for the last seven years. "He came with me to Mercy Center and I enrolled him in school." A year later, Niran returned home because he missed his mother. "One day, I saw him on the streets again," she says. "He looked very skinny and unhealthy."


In this broadcast of Bread and Roses, Gabriele Ross interviews Deena Guzder on Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking, particularly in Thailand.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Thailand

Thailand is often called the "Land of Smiles" and considered a tropical paradise full of friendly, spiritual locals eager to share their unique cuisine and pristine beaches. However, Thailand's elaborate culinary feats and sun-washed beachfronts are not the only reason why the country has become the playground of the rich and elite of the world. Conservative estimates suggest that 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex trade.