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The desire to be wealthy in the glittering growth of the Thai economy not only lures
Many girls into prostitution, but also keeps them there. Although it has not been legal to
sell children and women in Thailand since 1905, it is now common for impoverished
families in the north to indenture their daughters into sex slavery in “closed” brothels,
from which they are not allowed to leave. It is estimated that 20 per cent of prostitutes
were deceived and forced into the profession. When parents failed to repay debts they
were asked to sign a promissory note allowing one daughter to be taken to work in
Bangkok. The nature of the work was generally specified as housework or factory work,
but as soon as the daughter arrived in Bangkok she was forced to receive clients. Slavery,
which has been defined as ?the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and
generally dishonored persons? by Orlando Patterson, a Sociologist at Harvard University
has aptly been able to openly recognize that such a tradition exists must be a positive
albeit painful, first step. The young girl will thrive upon this degrading form of earning
her livelihood, for the rest of her life. This profession robs an individual of her honor, self
respect and self conscientiousness.
With the rise of capitalism and the popularity of the consumer products Industry
The trend towards child prostitution is increasing and has spread to many rural
Communities, many peasant families, particularly in the North of Thailand, the selling
of daughters into prostitution has become a strategy for economic survival and access to
consumer goods. Prostituion in the Asia Pacific is also increasing due to the rural- urban
migration, high unemployment and underemployment among young people and the
growth of the tourist Industry. Another major factor is the prevalence of the ideology
reinforcing male supremacy and the subordination of women.
A Bangkok-based group, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking, has campaigned relentlessly
against child prostitution, but this has not stopped foreign paedophiles from visiting Thailand.
Indeed, the Thai police believe the number of foreigners traveling to the country to have sex with
children is rising. All across South-East Asia an increasing number of young children are thought
to be at risk. Trafficking in people for the purpose of prostitution is described as “modern-day
slavery”. It is estimated that about 250,000 Asians, mostly women and children, are bought and
sold every year.
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