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Story Publication logo September 1, 2009

Sex Tourism, Exploited Women


Media file: thailandproject.jpg

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


Women and girls from poor rural families make up the majority of sex workers in Thailand. As a result of the current economic downturn, hundreds of factories and projects have closed across Thailand, leaving thousands of workers—both Thai and non-Thai—unemployed, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review. Unemployment is rising at a rate of about 100,000 workers a month, and may climb to 1.5 million by the end of the year. 
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 new, dangerous ways of objectifying, commoditizing, and demeaning women. Thailand's sex tourism industry is more risqué, less regulated, and more dangerous than ever before.

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