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Rangsimon Pholcharoenchit

Jordan Ruyle
Philosophy 3
Report Version 1
10 October 2016

In the State Department's 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Thailand


automatically downgraded Thailand to the lowest possible ranking
sharing the "Tier 3" category with 22 other countries, putting it on par
with the likes of North Korea, Syria and the Central African Republic
(Brown 2014)
This reflects Thai governments ability to stop human trafficking, whether it
be prostitution or slavery.
This report will focus on the prevalence of prostitutiongave a figure of
about 250,000 for the number of prostitutes working in Thailand
(Baccagno 2015)
In Thailand, between 2 and 300,000 women, most of whom come from
rural parts of the country, are employed in the sex industry; this means that
at least one of every 100 working women is a sex worker. (Simpkins 1998)
Prostitution is arguably a form of violence against women. (Farley 2004)
and its prevalence is shocking.
Thais tolerance of this form of sexual violence is propagated by the
following: Thailands history of sexual objectification of women; social
acceptance of prostitution as a necessary evil; economic pressures on
women of lower socioeconomic status; and lack of effective legal framework
(Chia 2016).

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History of Objectifications: The bars are temples but the pearls


ain't free
It is certainly not a new phenomenon, though it may have been
exacerbated by the Japanese occupation during World War II and by the
extensive use of Thailand as a "Rest and Recreation" facility by US forces
during the Second Indochina War (c. 1963 - 1973) (Latstetter 2000)
Then
by the 1970s, sex tourists began to replace soldiers as the principle foreign
consumers of sexual services in developing countries (Simpkins 1997)
Today, sex tourism in Thailand accounts for
only at Koh Samui, surprisingly not that well know for sex that at least 10
percent of tourist dollars may be spent on the sex trade (Martin 2006)
and that about $6.4 billion dollars in annual revenue was being generated
by the trade, a figure which accounted for 10 percent of Thailand's GDP. Sex
workers in Thailand send an annual average of US$300 million to family
members who reside in more rural areas of Thailand (Boccogno 2015)
Social Acceptance: Prostitutes play a crucial role in conserving Thai
values
Theres a contrasting views regarding premarital sexual experience of Thai
men and Thai women. Currently married men reported an average of 30.2
premarital sexual partners. Never-married men reported an average of 14.3
premarital sexual partners. The picture was completely different for women,
who reported little or no premarital sexual experiences, with means of 0.03

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and 0.01 premarital sexual partners for married women and never-married
women, respectively. (Francouer 1997)
This is reflected by the finding that
97 percent of these 21-year-old men reported having had sexual
intercourse, with about 54 percent reporting having the first intercourse
before the age of 16. The first sexual intercourse for 74 percent of the men
was with a female sex worker, compared to 12 percent with a lover, and 8
percent with a girlfriend. (Francouer 1997)
Thus
Sex with a sex worker has often been considered a rite of passage and an
accepted manner of learning about sex for young men. Some Thai fathers
were known to pay sex workers to have sex with their sons as a way of
giving their youngsters some sex education or acknowledging their
adulthood. (Francouer 1997)
Economic Pressure: Sex pays
Of all sectors, sex work is the one in which an average non-elite woman
can earn a significant wagea wage 20 to 40 times more than either men or
women can earn as factory workers. (Simpkins 1998)
Careers in sex work also satisfy their parents' expectations of support from
their daughters and their desire for respect in rural society: making 8,000
baht ($300) per month in the sex trade rather than 200 baht ($8) per month
as a domestic worker, sex workers can support their families in style
(Simpkins 1998)

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Moreover,
more than 1.2 million people (out of a total population of 56 million people)
are financially connected to sex work (Simpkins 1998)
Yet
In the construction of a distinct middle class identity, middle class women
in central Thailand failed to empathize with commercial sex workers
because they were typically from rural Thailand, from a different economic
class and often a different ethnic background. (Chia 2016)
Outdated Legal Framework: Not to womens benefit
Thai state, supporter and incubator of the profitable sex industry, made the
sex worker guilty for corrupting conservatism, and absolved the male
consumer in his exploits. (Chia 2016)
Interestingly,
Thailands Penal Code6 does not explicitly state that prostitution is illegal
in Thailand but prohibits any person from earning an income as a prostitute.
Title IX, Section 286 of the Penal Code states:
Any person, being over sixteen years of age, [sic] subsists on the earning of
a prostitute, even if it is some part of her incomes [sic], shall be punished
with imprisonment of seven to twenty years and fined of fourteen thousand
to forty thousand Baht, or imprisonment for life. (aHennessy 2012)
Moreover,
Under the Prostitution Act, prostitution is defined as:

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Sexual intercourse, or any other act, or the commission of any other act in
order to gratify the sexual desire of another person in a promiscuous
manner in return for money or any other benefit, irrespective of whether
the person who accepts the act and the person who commits the act are of
the same sex or not. (aHenessey 2012)
And,
Solicitation by a prostitute is prohibited under Section 5 of the Prostitution
Act:
Any person who, for the purpose of prostitution, solicits, induces,
introduces herself or himself to, follows or importunes a person in a street,
public place or in any other place in an open and shameless manner or
causes nuisance to the public, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one
thousand Baht. (aHenessey 2012)

In conclusion,
sex industry was not imposed on Thailand against its will (Simpkins 1998)
The aforementioned factors has created/engendered and continue to
propagate prostitution in Thailand.
Thus, the problem of prostitution, a form of violence against women, must
be addressed holistically from different perspective. This is a deep rooted
problem within Thai society; an prolonged issues, which is not only
reflective of Thailands standing on the TIP report but also of the bigger
picture of human rights.

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Sources
Julia Boccagno (11 November 2015). "Thailand's trans sex workers seek
empowerment, not pity". Asia Correspondent. Retrieved from
http://asiancorrespondent.com/2015/11/thailands-transsexual-workers-seekempowerment-not-pity/.
Jasmine Chia (30 March 2016). The Privileged Lie of Gender Equality in
Thailand Harvard International Review. Retrieved from
http://hir.harvard.edu/privileged-lie-gender-equality-thailand/.
Latstetter, Jennifer (2000). "American Military-Base Prostitution". The
Monitor: Journal of International Studies. College of William and Mary, 6.
Retrieved from https://web.wm.edu/so/monitor/issues/06-2/6-latstetter.htm .
Dulcey Simpkins (1998) Rethinking the Sex Industry: Thailand's Sex
Workers, the State, and Changing Cultures of Consumption. Issue title:
Unequal Exchange: Gender and Economies of Power, 12. Retrieved from
http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.ark5583.0012.005 .

Lorna Martin (25 Jan 2006). "Paradise Revealed. The Taipei Times.
Retrieved
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2006/01/25/2003290710.
aHennessy; kilikina (27 Jun 2012). "Current Legal Framework: Prostitution
in Thailand". IMPOWR.org. ABA. Retrieved from
http://www.impowr.org/content/current-legal-framework-prostitution-thailand.

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Melissa Farley (1 October 2004). Prostitution Is Sexual Violence.


Psychiactric Times. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/sexualoffenses/prostitution-sexual-violence.
Sophie Brown (21 June 2014). Tackling Thailand's human trafficking
problem. CNN. Retrieved from
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/20/world/asia/thailand-trafficking-report/ .

Francoeur, Robert T., ed. (1997). The International Encyclopedia of


Sexuality: Thailand. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company.
Retrieved from http://www.sexarchive.info/IES/thailand.html.