The Sunday golf session usually ends by early afternoon. But the husband won’t be home till dinnertime. Why? Because often, the golf gang would go to a massage parlor for bathtime and sexytime. It’s a tradition, a lifestyle.
After a long meeting with executives from the headquarters, bring the “farangs” for some bathtime and sexytime. It’s a cultural experience. Why all work and no play? Have a taste of Amazing Thailand. Beautiful beaches. Beautiful ladies. Beautiful ladyboys.
Go for a jog at Lumpini Park. It’s lovely there. After the park closed, however, late at night street prostitutes strut up and down the sidewalk. The police station is just across the street. But mai pen rai. This is Thailand.
Take a drive down the street.
Look, a temple. So beautiful.
Look, a massage parlor. So tempting.
Online. Offline. Sideline. All sorts of lines. Sexytime is just a Line Chat away.
We’re not even talking about sex tourism: Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Sodom by the Sea, commonly known as Pattaya. Those are mainly for foreigners. The business is puny compared to the sector catering to red-blooded Thai males.
In the waning days of the COVID-19 outbreak, as the country moves into the next phase of easing of restrictions, massage parlors again are back to business.
Meanwhile, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, our dear prime minister, insisted, sexytime is illegal. But really, it has always been illegal. However, Thailand is all about sexytime.
In this report, on 1 July, the first “back to the tub” day, customers cleaned out the glass cage. Those showing up later had to wait in queue for the ladies. That’s how big of a business and how integral to the cultural lifestyle prostitution is. Moral judgment aside, this is reality.
One of our most famous political and social figures is Chuwit Kamolvisit, who used to own a string of massage parlors. He said some of his best clients were senior politicians and police officers.
And really, which black market business in Thailand doesn’t involve somebody “senior” and/or some “officer,” whether as customer, operator or protector?
Havocscope is a website that studies the global black market. It places Thailand’s prostitution industry at 6.4 billion US dollars and the number of prostitutes in Thailand at 250,000.
Should you question this website, then UNAIDs in 2015 gave the number of 147,000 sex workers in Thailand. In 2001, the World Health Organization gave an amount of between 150,000 and 200,000. Ask the NGOs, and some would put the number at 300,000. Ask somebody next to you, and he or she would say, “millions.”
There is no comprehensive study on the number, but let’s just agree: a country doesn’t become known globally for prostitution if a country doesn’t have a lot of prostitutes.
But that’s not the problem. Two (or more) consenting adults in a fair exchange of business, it’s a profession as old as humanity, and only became “morally wrong” in modern times. However, debates over religious influence and western import values are not the points here. It would make this article too long.
The point is, morally wrong or not, no government would ever actually “eradicate” the trade. It’s a reality. So let’s be practical.
Legalize it. Bring order to it. Protect the sex workers. And by the Gods, let’s tax it and make money from it. The military needs money for more submarines, and a fraction of it might be put to some good use in developing the country.
There’s a long list of countries that legalizes prostitution. The argument for its legalization is nothing new.
Law and order (or as much law and order as Thailand is capable of) can protect the sex workers from abuse and violence.
Legal status would protect them from being taken advantage of by pimps. They would have employee rights, health benefits, social securities and perhaps they may even unionize.
It reduces human trafficking and protects minor because when things are out in the open, there can be transparency and accountability (or as much transparency and accountability as Thailand is capable of).
But again, the argument is nothing new. The only thing that truly stands in the way of legalizing prostitution is moral hypocrisy, nothing less and nothing more.
Let’s stop being hypocrites. Legalize it.