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Story Publication logo October 15, 2009

Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Thailand


Media file: thailandproject.jpg

Deena Guzder exposes how the economic crisis has changed the nature of sex tourism 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.

Behind the brothels posing as massage parlors is a painful story involving women trafficked from Burma, children exploited by pimps, and global economic disparities that allow rich tourists to make unchecked demands on impoverished locals' bodies. Recent political turmoil coupled with the global economic downturn has made the Ministry of Tourism reluctant to reinvigorate efforts and give the outside world any impression that Thailand is anything but the "Land of Smiles."

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