May 30, 2007

Poverty and Prostitution

I can't help but say that I am always amazed when I hear the endless stories in the Western media about the rampant poverty in Southeast Asia and Thailand and how it drives the poor women who live here into prostitution.

I would venture to say that the majority, of the prostitutes in Southeast Asia including Thailand or the Philippines are young women who have voluntarily engaged in prostitution to support their lifestyle or to put themselves through school, or simply to pursue their dreams. Driven by consumerism and materialism, it's not about putting food in their stomachs, it's more about getting that new designer handbag and a new cellphone. In a nutshell, these girl's poverty is not about what they do not have but about who they are.

Steve Suphan takes on the mainstream Western media's bias towards Thailand and presents an interesting question regarding poverty.

"...highly qualified and knowledgeable Western reporters were quick to point out that such immoral business exists in Thailand because of rampant poverty. Now, I am not going to say that such inhumane activity does not exist in Thailand, but it is certainly nothing like what the Western media portrays. As for that poverty lark, well how do you define poverty? If you define it as lack of food, shelter, clean water and clothing, then there is very little poverty in Thailand. If you define poverty as lack of an MP3, new Honda Dream and a flat-screen TV set, yes then there is a lot of poverty in Thailand. But then again, if you define it so, then the West is also full of poverty. By the way, if you had no choice, what kind of poverty would you settle for, a gun-toting Los Angeles slum or a buffalo-ridden remote Isarn village?..."



  1. Anonymous4:17 AM

    According to an article on around 3% of the Thai economy is from prostitution. Even among its neighbours or the Netherlands that seems awfully high.

  2. I am a expat living in the Philippines and I would agree about 80% of the women do it for the reasons you wrote about.

  3. Anonymous12:27 PM

    That is very interesting to me. I was at a strip club recently for a bachelor party and I thought something similar about the girls--some might strip out of necessity, but I think others just want to do it.

  4. what should i say?
    i am an asia girl ,and living in asia .i think there's the occupation available,there's a group of people joining that ..
    is that the pic of gogo bar in Bangkok ? nice looking ..the ladies there ..

  5. Thanks Susu, yes it is a GoGo bar in Bangkok.

  6. Anonymous1:27 AM

    I think you are correct about most prostitution in South East Asia. My impression is that they are doing it to by fancy stuff (fashionable clothing, MP3 players, and the like). In which case, its those farang "sex tourists" who are paying for all of this.

    I have never partaken in any of these. All three of my trips to Thailand have been with my wife. It is doubtful that I would partake of this even if I was single. There are plenty of the back-pack women (mostly European and Aussies) who quite enjoy a "roll in the hay".

    Morally, my hangup with prostitution is the exploitation and human trafficking involved in it. During the 90's, Eastern European women were brought to U.S. and Japan, essentially as sex-slaves. This is inhumane and should be wiped out.

    If these Thai women are doing it as their own free choice (no coercion, no criminal gang exploitation), I have no problem with it. I'm just no about to be one of their suckers.

    However, I do think there is exploitation and human trafficking going on in Thailand.

  7. Wow Lao. Your's is an often seen rationalization for Thailand's prostitution problem presented from the guilt-avoiding punter's perspective. Do you know, first hand, that all the girls are just seeking new iPhones? If not all, then what percentage are? And is it the new iPhone that entices an 18yo Isaan virgin to sleep with a 50+yo drunken, smelly farang?

    Just curious.


Creative Commons License