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Women at two Phuket massage parlors were questioned last night in a raid

Phuket Police Raid Massage Parlors: All Sex Workers to be Obliged to Register

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
PHUKET: Police on Phuket raided massage parlors last night and began implementation of a process that will require all sex industry workers on the holiday island to register.

''We have to make sure there is no forced prostitution and no underage prostitution,'' Phuket Police Commander Major General Pachara Boonyasit told 339 officers who gathered in the forecourt at Phuket City Police Station about 9pm.

Listening to him were Governor Nisit Jansomwong, the superintendents of all 10 Phuket police stations, Tourist Police, Marine Police, Special Police, immigration officers and volunteers.

A raid soon after on two massage parlors in the Poonpol night market district of Phuket City led to questioning of all women found there.

Police said there were no underage women and no women making claims of enforced labor.

The registration process comes with the campaign against human trafficking in Thailand growing stronger as the nation attempts to rise from the lowest level, Tiet 3, on the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report for 2014.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Prostitution is illegal in Thailand..yet the police have to register the sex workers (prostitutes) so they can work?

And you all thought the beach chair and umbrella issue was confusing

Posted by sky on February 3, 2015 09:22


@ sky

My thoughts exactly.

Appearances often have little or nothing to do with reality in Thailand.

Maybe it's a part of the recently launched "Thainess" campaign.

Posted by Herbert on February 3, 2015 10:06

Editor Comment:

Not doonsaying again, Herbert? Bit sad if you never find anything positive to add. If I did that, I'd start to question whether it was time to take off my blinkers.


Well gambling and prostitution remaining illegal exactly is what the police want as they can then solicit a monthly kick back to turn a blind eye to the 'illegal' activities. A joke really.

Posted by Arun Muruga on February 3, 2015 10:20


What a waste of time and resources ! Address the REAL PROBLEM of why thousands of young girls have to sell their bodies to help their families survive and children to go to school. WHY ?
Endemic corruption and greed doesn't help and this in a Buddhist society. Get honest politicians (an oxymoron ?) who care about the plight of the rural poor.
Also agree with "sky" comment.

Posted by Honesto on February 3, 2015 10:31

Editor Comment:

As long as the women choose to do what they do, surely there's no great evil. Some of them, so rumor has it, actually enjoy the lifestyle.


Where are all the cops in Phuket after dark? Why they're all checking illegal sex workwrs aren't being exploilted. Straight out of a Tom Sharpe novel.

Posted by gee on February 3, 2015 11:45


Hey Sky, maybe the masseuses were rubbing the police the wrong way...

Posted by Sam Wilko on February 3, 2015 12:24


Like many laws that are illegal in Thailand the prostitution law is not enforced.

Posted by Feisty Farang on February 3, 2015 12:24


@ Ed

Please tell me what is positive about this incident ?

Police harassing the girls instead of going after those who operate establishments that provide illegal trade, i.e. prostitution ?

Could it be because the police themselves own quite a few girlie bars, even on Bangla ?

It's the same as the Thai employers never getting any kind of legal or financial consequences from hiring illegal workers. It's always the foreign laborers who get arrested, fined and often "deported" to start a new round in the hands of human traffickers.

In the UK you will get fined up to GBP 10.000 for every illegal worker you hire. That is what needs to happen in Thailand if they are serious about stopping modern day slavery.

Quite obviously they are not but rather want to make sure Thai employers can continue exploiting illegal migrant workers with impunity.

I agree with you that many girls actually like doing that job but that's not the point.

Officially authorities claim there is no prostitution in Thailand.

In reality here we have authorities registering prostitutes.

It is not positive on any level but it sure is typical Thai double talk.

Their deeper involvement in the trade is best left unpublished.

Posted by Herbert on February 3, 2015 13:52

Editor Comment:

I've never heard authorities claiming there is no prostitution in Thailand. Prostitution is often dealt with by changing the laws to acceptance or tacitly ignoring bad laws. The answer to preventing corruption is to change the bad laws so both problems - the illegality and the corruption - disappear. Thailand along with every other country in the world has the problem.


Are the girls hiding their face as they told their parents they were working in hotel reception or some other lie. How crazy is this? They often send about 50% of what they would earn in reception....not the brightest of girls in the world and the parents say nothing.

Posted by Feisty Farang on February 3, 2015 15:39


Dear Ed,
I suppose there must be a few women who like that "lifestyle" but in 30 years of coming to Thailand I have met few, if any, who didn't really want to find a good "boyfriend" to take care of them so they could immediately stop working "bar", "massage" etc.
Think about it, the novelty of sleeping with a different girl 7 nights a week wears pretty thin fairly quickly. What do you really think it's like for the girls ? I think they do an amazing job of putting on a happy face about a situation they would prefer not to be in. One should not be fooled by their demeanour when angling for a customer. They enjoy the camaraderie of the other girls but they rarely enjoy the sex side of things - except believe it or not with me ! I am very gullible.

Posted by Honesto on February 3, 2015 17:24

Editor Comment:

It would be a mistake to assume that all girls are the same and have similar tastes and targets in life, Honesto. Generalisations are not useful. Pretence is a key part of prostitution. One doesn't have to be a working girl or a customer to understand that much. But I did happen to interview quite a few working girls while on assignment and jobs in retail outlets or similar had no appeal to any of them. Sex is here to stay and the only evil involved is compulsion. As has been said, the women have a choice. Certainly. more should be done to educate young women about the negatives. That's up to teachers and parents.


Prostitution is not existing in Thailand. It is, by law, forbidden. Nothing wrong with doings massages. Everywhere you look on Phuket island you can get massage. At the beaches, Jungceylon, and so on. A massage lady is not a sex worker. Is this Governor now declaring that there are thai sex workers on his island? It is shocking and confusing. That would damage the image of Phuket island.

Posted by Kurt on February 3, 2015 17:56


Funny, I just red in BangkokPost that a few very high ranking Royal police officers involved in prostitution management in BKK are transferred to inactive duties after years of earning 'pocket money' on the side.
Not sacked, no criminal charges, no arrest warrants. Can we become a bit more serious in Thailand? This are matters that are damaging the thai tourist industry.

Posted by Kurt on February 3, 2015 18:06


Why the Phuket Police not raid the illegal foreign workers on the beaches, with the para sailing and Jet sky 'industry'? Is it command from higher Phuket authority to leave those illegal foreigner workers alone? So many foreign Asian workers on Phuket beaches, 'stealing' thai jobs. But no thai complains. Only when it concerns tour guiding. Funny.

Posted by Kurt on February 3, 2015 19:25


We live in a society that throws stones from its little glass house, that forces even legitimate sex-trade workers to hide their faces, in order to save them..

Posted by farang888 on February 4, 2015 03:55


Prostitution is legal, it's the third party profiteering that is not, aka pimping. As usual, a good law is not enforced in order to facilitate corruption. And all the customers are enabling it while they complain about corruption.

Posted by The Night Mare on February 4, 2015 08:45


Dear Ed,
I agree with you that it is a fact that jobs in retail, restaurants and hotels do not appeal to these girls but that's because the pay is not enough for their needs. This does not make a case for saying these girls prefer to be in the sex industry. You say the "the only evil is in compulsion" but when there is no other choice for these girls to make enough money for their families' needs this is compulsion although no intimidation is involved. Personally I think many make a hugely honourable and personal sacrifice in doing this work to support their families and children. It is amazingly naive to believe that many would choose this work if there were other options for them.

Posted by Honesto on February 4, 2015 11:11

Editor Comment:

There are jobs galore in Thailand, Honesto, as the latest unemployment figures reveal. No doubt there are as many individual reasons for choosing the job they take as there are sex workers. But to say there are not other options is not true.


For the bar girl it is good money, earned quickly. However, depending on appearances, character, behavior and knowledge of English.

By far, times are long gone to provide the poor and hungry relatives in Issaan with food. Everybody know the sick buffalo stories I tthink.

Nowadays it comes to cars, bigger houses and gold.

It's about a better life, that's right and nothing wrong with it. But beyond the pure basic needs.

The families or the girl alone decide how they support their families.
I agree with ED. Plenty of other jobs all over the country. But hard work and not so funny.

Posted by Georg The Viking on February 4, 2015 13:22



It's the amount of money they can make as prostitutes that makes them do it, not the lack of other opportunities. What you are saying is that every decent looking country side girl from a poor background that choses to "only" work as a hotel maid, in a kitchen or as a factory worker is stupid to not sell sex instead. I think for a prostitute designer jeans, Iphones and making a lot of money is more important than helping "their families". It's "easy money", simple as that

Posted by christian on February 4, 2015 13:46


It's the oldest occupation in the world - even recorded in the bible.

Nothing wrong if it's a chosen & not enforced profession.

But there needs to be some clarity as to whether it is legal or otherwise in Thailand? Is touting, pimping & bar fining legal?

But the worst example is Sukhumvit in Bangkok where there are literally dozens of African women parading their wares rather aggressively. {Talk about carrying coal to Newcastle!} How do they get their visas? & all the East Europeans - not quite so conspicuous but just as common?

Yes it is confusing!!!

Posted by Logic on February 4, 2015 16:18


That's a positive development.

However, a more logical approach would be to legalize it first, register 2nd and tax it 3rd.

Posted by Jakub P. on February 5, 2015 10:25


well said kurt there would lucky to be a dozen thai workers on the beach.the Thais are the ones sitting under the trees doing nothing just collecting

Posted by bondi on February 16, 2015 06:38

Wednesday March 29, 2023
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