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Davidson and Taylor also categorised male British sex tourists in three groups: the Macho Lads, Mr. Average, and the Cosmopolitan Men. The first group is comprised of men in their 20s and are generally skilled or semi-skilled and employed in manual work. The Mr. Average type of sex tourists are usually older than the Lads and are often widowed or divorced and prides themselves at being respectable. The Cosmopolitan Men, well-read and well- traveled, takes pain to differentiate themselves from the other two groups.

They don’t want to be branded as sex tourists. Nevertheless, this third group of men still frequents the red light district of Bangkok in what they call their relaxation period. Sex Tourism 11 Commercial sex can be had in Thailand through brothels, massage parlors, hostess bars, private clubs and karaoke places, among others. Most of the well-known sex tourist places in the country include Patpong, Koh Samui, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, while Pattaya and Phuket outside of the capital. Generally, there are three types of prostitution places in Thailand.

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First, extra service is being offered by massage parlours, which are often combined with karaoke bars and restaurants. The extra service can be negotiated with the parlour owner or with the masseuse. Next in line are the bars found inside or outside Bangkok. Yoshinari (2004) related that these bars vary from being flashy to being laid back; from looking like Las Vegas bars, to Japan’s Ginza or Kabukicho. Prostitutes who litter these bars are generally young. Independent sex workers, those that don’t belong to clubs or bars are available to clients after the bars close, usually after 2 a. m.

Aside from women prostitutes, there are also male whores who used to service gay clients. In recent years, these male gigolos have started servicing women. Most of them are in the trade due to poverty and emotional problems, while some are victims of false promises. Child Prostitution Similar to other commercial sectors, prostitution has evolved to meet perversions of some individuals. In essence, sex should be between two consenting mature individuals. Mature in the sense that the persons involved are fully aware of the consequences and the reasons for copulation.

Paedophilia is an attraction to children thirteen years old and below that is Sex Tourism 12 considered a mental problem and punishable by law. While the practice is abhorrent, those in the sex industry found a way to earn money through the exploitation of children. Like adult prostitution, poverty seems to be the root cause in the proliferation of child prostitution in Thailand. Children, brainwashed to think that obtaining money through sex is good, would offer themselves to people mostly fifty years old or above in exchange for material favors.

In many cases however, children are sold or trafficked by organized crime syndicates for prostitution. End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism, an international organization, founded in 1991 with headquarters in Thailand, estimates that there are about a million children worldwide who are lured into the sex industry each year. According to Sownia Nair (2007), other than paedophiles, there are also the so-called situational abusers that don’t intentionally seek out children for sexual activities but would occasionally engage in the act when the opportunity is present.

Some paedophiles and situational abusers believe that they’re not committing a crime in engaging children in sex but are rather helping them escape economic difficulties. Recognising the gravity of child prostitution in the country despite an existing law prohibiting this practice, the Royal Thai Government has ruled that foreign nationals caught engaging in sexual activities with minors will be arrested and imprisoned. Law enforcers in the country have intensified their efforts at combating child exploitation by doing surveillance on suspected child molesters.

In addition, visitors to the country are warned upon arrival of the consequences of engaging in sexual activity with a minor. To keep children from getting lured into the trade, the government has provided vocational trainings and economic opportunities designed to equip these kids with marketable Sex Tourism 13 skills in order for them to become employable. The Thai Department of Public Welfare has also distributed information to parents regarding the danger of prostitution and the scams of recruiters.

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