The resort located in the east of Thailand has been branded the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah — the biblical kingdom infested with vice and sin. Yesterday, 11 foreign tourists were arrested along with 14 sex workers during a raid on an illegal orgy at a Pattaya hotel. Cops arrived to find people allegedly having group sex in the hotel room that was scattered with condoms, lubricant, sexual enhancement drugs and toys.
No one would connect the boys to the older, white men - and a pair of Chinese somethings - seated under a tree, or to the young man with the mobile phone leaning on a parked motorbike. The boys, aged from 14 to 24, walk in pairs for greater safety, making eye contact with the men, who then communicate their choices to the man with the mobile phone. Once the deal is done, the boys move to a side alley to wait for their clients.
Tourists flock to Thailand for its temples and beaches, but also for its sex workers. From go-go girls to ladyboys, Thai cities and resorts like Bangkok and Pattaya are known as hubs of the Southeast Asian sex trade, despite the fact that prostitution has been illegal in Thailand since This could be changing.
About 60 per cent of these people, earning approximately Bt to Bt1, a day by selling sex, are elderly persons, according to the Issarachon Foundation, which provides assistance to the homeless, especially those with HIV and Aids. According to foundation social welfare worker Achara Sornwaree, there are about 70, destitute people in Thailand. Addressing a press conference in Bangkok on Wednesday, Achara cast a light on the lives of people who do what they have to do to get by and are often forgotten by the rest of society.
Thailand has had a long and complex relationship with commercial sex work that persists today. Despite all its other tourist draws, it's still known as a sex tourism destination, a designation that began around the time of the Vietnam War. The industry targeted to foreigners is very visible, with multiple red-light districts in Bangkok alone, but there is also a more clandestine domestic sex industry and myriad informal channels of sex-for-hire.
Prostitution has been common in Thailand for centuries. During the Ayutthaya Kingdom —prostitution was legal and taxed,  : 2 and the state ran brothels. Under the act, the definition of "prostitution" is "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.
Bangkok is a city where prostitution is illegal, but where hundreds of escort services, massage parlors, bathhouses, bars, clubs, teahouses, coffee shops and even barber shops serve as commonly understood fronts for the selling of sex. Every Saturday, a column in The Bangkok Post describes the newest offerings along the red-light strips known as Patpong and Soi Cowboy. Every evening, young boys proffer themselves outside a hotel known for its ice cream.
Mai Janta, 29, came to Thailand from Shan State with her family when she was a year old. Her brother had been conscripted to the Myanmar army and her family feared that he would never return if he had to join. The memory of her uncle was still fresh in their minds when they left -- She says he had joined before her brother was conscripted, and was left to die after he hurt his leg. She's been helping support her family since she was 10 years old, when she started her first job.
Experts warn that the industry has been so tolerated that it is today deeply entrenched, and efforts at regulation should be attempted in lieu of total shutdown. Sudden restrictions, they claim, will likely move the industry underground, increasing risks like disease, fraud, and exploitation among both workers and patrons alike and could encourage human trafficking. The Ayutthaya Kingdom thrived across Siam from — and at the time was the largest and wealthiest trading centre in the East.