Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Patong after dark: Phuket is home to more than 7000 sex workers

More Than 7200 Sex Workers on Phuket

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
THE SCALE of Phuket's sex industry has been revealed in a survey by Public Health officials that concludes there are more than 6229 female workers and 998 male workers in the trade.

The numbers are the totals of people who openly admit to earning their living from prostitution, Vice Governor Tree Akaradath was told yesterday.

The figures came on the same day as a seminar on prostitution was held in Bangkok. British ambassador Quinton Quayle expressed concern about prostitution across national boundaries.

He said Thailand was a part of the problem because many women and men went abroad or were taken abroad to engage in prostitution.

The ambassador plans to visit neighboring countries to educate officials and the public about the trade in the sex industry.

On Phuket, Public Health officials check bars in Patong and other entertainment centres, including Phuket City, twice a year, asking the owners of establishments how many workers are involved.

Many karaoke bars and girlie beer bars in centres such as Soi Bangla in Patong have influential mamasan, motherly figures who control their younger colleagues, or ''families.'' (And there are Papasans, too).

Khun Tree was told yesterday that the mamasans tend to protect younger sex workers in all matters but do not necessarily advocate the use of condoms.

The result is a greater risk of HIV infection, as well as the danger of workers catching less significant but harmful venereal diseases.

Representing Public Health at yesterday's meeting was Dr Pongsawat Rattanasang, with Pannee Sittikan, from the Phuket Province Social Development office.

The risk was even greater in neighboring rural provinces such as Phang Nga, where ignorance of HIV, especially among young people, was even more widespread than on Phuket, although the numbers of workers were not so large.

The survey is not complete in terms of total numbers because some bars refuse entry to Public Health and decline to have staff involved in surveys, Vice Governor Tree was told.

Checks are usually made every March and October.

Resorts under the Accor and Evason brands are known to be signatories to a declaration against child prostitution, promoted by an umbrella organisation, Ecpat.

Officials from Ecpat and Accor have been reluctant to explain to Phuketwan how this worthy intention actually applies in practice.

Dealing with a situation where a resort guest brings a young person who may or may not be underage back to the resort seems to be an issue that many resort managements remain reluctant to discuss publicly.

Ecpat (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a network of organisations and individuals working together to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Prostitution remains a crime in Thailand but prosecutions on Phuket are relatively rare, perhaps in tacit acknowledgment that many sex tourists these days come from countries where prostitution is legal.

The overt nature of the international tourist sex trade is matched by a large-scale yet far less open industry involving Thais.

According to Ecpat: ''Several cities in Thailand suffer from the
impacts of sexual exploitation of children in tourism, notably Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket.

''Children are readily available in sex establishments and are also approached directly in the street by tourists seeking sexual contact.''

PM Tips Asean for Phuket: Now Resorts Slug It Out
Latest Which Phuket resort will gain the Asean Plus Six Summit that the PM has announced is coming to Phuket? There are two leading candidates, both good options.
PM Tips Asean for Phuket: Now Resorts Slug It Out

'Endless Summer' as Phuket Goes to Market
Latest Phuket people are taking to the streets, getting proactive and shouting: ''Down with Low Season. Roll on Summer.'' It's a sign that change is on the way, and that's cool.
'Endless Summer' as Phuket Goes to Market

Nightmare Exposed: Children for Sale on Phuket
Underage sex has finally become a topic that can be talked about on Phuket with the national government and the governor taking action. How widespread is child sex on Phuket?
Nightmare Exposed: Children for Sale on Phuket


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I think that one can easily double or triple this figure if you count the free lancers in the late night clubs, the massage parlor girls and the many who did not participate in the survey.

Posted by Frank in Rawai on April 22, 2009 09:36


Make it triple if you count all these girls who only serve Thais ! I will bet there are more girls on Phuket that only serve Thais then there is serving foreigners !

Any karoke place, Soi 11 Phuket Town, even small places on the highway a karakoke machine and some girls ! all for sale !! Same all over Thailand !

Posted by Peter on April 22, 2009 19:00


Triple it or more, no doubt. But a request to everybody: If you see child prostitution call the police. It's disgusting and these perverts should be stopped with all means.

Posted by Steen in Patong on April 22, 2009 22:03


Yep, obviously if you see child prostitution then the police should be called. In all my years here though, i've never seen it. Maybe it's just underground? I was talking to a girl in a bar once who i thought was very young looking but she assured me she was over 21. I asked her for her Thai ID card which she happily produced - and it confirmed she was indeed over 21. It's hard to tell with slightly built Thai women sometimes.

I'd be interested to know which establishments the survey missed out. I doubt the number is correct, but i also doubt that it's triple either.
21,000 sex workers.

Posted by anon on April 28, 2009 08:03



Posted by dineshjawade on May 10, 2009 14:28

Monday March 4, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter