Bangkok in detail. 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 is technically illegal in Thailand. However, anti-prostitution laws are often ambiguous and unenforced.
Over the years, Thailand has gained a reputation among travellers from many countries for its sex tourism. According to media reports, the city of Pattaya alone in Chonburi Province has around 27, prostitutes. Despite the popularity of the sex industry in Thailand, prostitution has been illegal in the kingdom since the s. Nevertheless, although authorities in Thailand have implemented laws against sex work and conducted numerous crackdowns at clubs and karaoke bars — the industry has continued to thrive. The new coronavirus which first emerged in the city of Wuhan in China has infected close to two million people worldwide. This has prompted governments around the world to impose drastic measures to curb the virus from spreading such as citywide lockdowns and travel restrictions. On 26 March, a state of emergency came into force in Thailand with the hope that it would help break the chain of infection.
No work for three lakh sex workers in Thailand, forcing some to the streets
It also signalled the start of difficult times for an estimated sex workers living in Thailand. As requests began flooding in, it became clear that without a source of income many sex workers were unable to cover the cost of daily expenses, housing and medicine. The outbreak has had a severe socioeconomic impact on the lives of sex workers, further exacerbated by the lack of social protection measures. She explained that many of the sex workers expressed that they were not eligible for the government assistance of baht.
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.