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Project August 14, 2009

Thailand: Sex Tourism, Exploited Women


Media file: thailandproject.jpg

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.