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Bangkok Thailand



  1. What is Human Trafficking?
  2. Who are the most vulnerable?
  3. What is the socio-economic profile?
  4. How many people are trafficked?
  5. Where do most victims originate?
  6. Where does Thailand fit?
  7. What is the link w/Beginnings?
  8. Has Beginnings been involved with victims?

Thailand's Sex Trade

  1. What is the demand for the sex trade in Bangkok?
  2. What is the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Thailand?
  3. Do the sex workers in Thailand choose this occupation?
  4. What is the connection between prostitution and trafficking?

What is human trafficking?

Trafficking in persons (TIP) or modern-day slavery is: “an act or attempted act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, and harboring or receiving a person by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation at a minimum includes the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” (underlines are not in the original)

The Palermo Protocol – United Nations – adopted November 2000

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Who are the most vulnerable to being trafficked?

“Approximately 80% of the victims are female; 70% of those females are trafficked for the commercial sex industry”

U. S. Department of Justice Report, 2004

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What is the socio-economic profile of victims of trafficking?

“The ongoing abuses of human rights and growing social and economic inequality within and between countries has led to an environment in which many women have few choices and resources and are thus vulnerable to being lured, mislead, or forced into being trafficked. Women who are vulnerable to being trafficked are those aged 10-35 and who are impoverished, uneducated or from indigenous, ethnic minority, rural or refugee groups. Such women often lack access to education and meaningful employment opportunities. Harmful cultural and customary practices also perpetuate discriminatory and violent practices that further diminish women’s opportunities and lead to further marginalization and commodification.”

UNESCAP – United Nations Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific

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How many people are trafficked each year?

“As of May, 2004, the U. S. Government estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the United States, and 600,000 to 800,000 are trafficked globally” This estimate covers men, women and children trafficked across borders It does not include those trafficked within their own borders.

U. S. Department of Justice Report, 2004

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From where do most victims originate?

“Roughly two-thirds of the global victims are trafficked intra-regionally, within East Asia and the Pacific (260,000 to 280,000) and Europe and Eurasia (170,000 to 210,000). The largest number of people trafficked into the United States come from East Asia and the Pacific (5,000 to 7,000). The next highest numbers come from Latin American and from Europe and Eurasia, at between 3,500 and 5,500 victims from each.”

U. S. Department of Justice Report, 2004

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Where does Thailand fit into the world's human trafficking problem?

Thailand is a source, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking – largely from Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China in Asia and many Eastern European countries as well as Africa. Thais are also trafficked within the boundaries of Thailand for both sex and labor.

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What is the link between Beginnings and human trafficking?

Most of the young women in the sex trade in Bangkok fit the socio-economic descriptors for those most vulnerable to being trafficked. In an effort to support their families they are easily lured to promises of economic stability and freedom.

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Has Beginnings been involved with any who have been trafficked or appear to have had contact with traffickers?

We have been able to house and care for victims of traffickers. We have also interceded on several occasions when a young woman has come to English class excited about the possibilities of a job in another country. When it bears the red flags of a trafficker we are quick to expose the potential and intercede. We also use our English class to educate about the dangers of such offers. Example: One student who comes regularly to English class willingly shares her story of her six months in a locked brothel in a neighboring country. She was made to serve 20-25 men a day.

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What is the demand for the sex trade in Bangkok?

Bangkok supports three major red light districts that serve men from developed countries, primarily Europe, Australia, Canada, U. S. and Japan.  There are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 women and girls working in these three districts in Bangkok.  There are another estimated 20,000 prostituted women and children working in Pattaya, a beach town two hours south of Bangkok.  Other beach towns offer sexual services as well.  Other districts serve Thai men.  According to the Coalition Against Trafficking Women (CATW), “4.6 million Thai men regularly, and 500,000 foreign tourists annually, buy women in prostitution.”

CATW – Asia Pacific, “Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific”

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What is the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Thailand?

According to the UNAIDS one out of every hundred persons in Thailand tests positive for the AIDS virus.
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Do the sex workers in Thailand's three districts serving Western men choose this occupation or are they owned by a pimp or bar owner?

“Choice” implies active enthusiastic consent. It also implies multiple alternatives. Prostitution in Thailand is circumstance-created sex work. If poverty is a choice, then, yes, they have a choice. While most workers are “free” to leave the trade and are not bound to their bedpost, they are bound by lack of education, gender inequality, family debt, and poverty.

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What is the connection between prostitution and trafficking?

The sex industry is the enabling environment of human trafficking. Desperate to support their family, pay off debt, women are easily lured to the “fast” money that traffickers promise. Example: One of our English students was the sole support of ten members of her family: Her mother and grandmother, her three children, her younger school-age brother, her sister who had been paralyzed in an accident and her husband and their two young children. She needed to take one customer a day in order to support them all. Exhausted, she came to English with a glimmer of hope because of a “job offer” in Belgium. Bearing all the marks of traffickers we told her of the dangers. She sighed and said, “But at least my phone won’t ring.” We never saw her again. 

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Home of New Beginnings, P O Box 1300, Nanathai, Klong Toey, Bangkok, Thailand