The History of Sex Workers

Topics: Prostitution, Human trafficking, Thailand Pages: 5 (1801 words) Published: April 26, 2011
Sex Workers
There are many different ideas as to what a sex worker is. A sex worker is someone who uses sexual acts in return for money, services, or products. The person benefiting on behalf of the sex worker can be the actual sex worker or someone referred to as a pimp. Throughout history, people around the world have had different views of sexuality. Sex work is an area of sexuality that has been around for centuries. There are many different areas of sex work. There are such things as prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and the sex trade. Sex workers are present in almost every country. In the Middle East, Islams believed that sex was meant to be enjoyed by both the male and the female. Sex was not allowed outside of marriage. It was believed that extramarital sex would so powerful that it could disrupt society (King, 156.) Once a girl hits puberty in Australia, she was deflowered. She could be forced into group sex with the elders after this surgery. Australians believed that gang rape was an acceptable punishment. This was used because a woman finding their own partners was frowned upon. A woman’s sexuality was controlled by the male figure. He could give his bride to other men in order to repay debt, or abolish offenses he may have done (King, 279.) In the Brazilian Highlands, it was frowned upon to have sex before marriage. These types of women were forced into the status of “wanton.” Wantons were not married. They relied on the men they had sex with to care for them. Some women did not have a family capable of arranging marriages. These women were also forced to become wantons. These women could have been captured for the sex trade, orphans, or refugees (King 100.) Thailand has seen a great influx in the amount of tourism. This is due to something referred to as sex tourism. Thailand is a third world country, yet it is emerging as an economic leader. According to Professor Krikiat Phiapatserithan of Thammasat University, sex tourism generates $1.5 billion every year for Thailand (World Congress, 3.) The sex tourism in Thailand has to have had a start. It is believed that Vietnam was the start. Thailand was a popular destination for "rest and relaxation" for American servicemen during the Vietnam War. American soldiers were eager to pay for a temporary sexual partner. This allowed for new brothels and go-go bars to spring up almost overnight. Following the war the Thai government took an active stance in promoting the growth of the tourist industry in the hope that it would contribute to the modernization process. The half-a-million prostitutes left over from the war were seen as a commodity that could be actively exploited in exchange for the influx of much needed foreign currency. Eventually the growth of Thailand’s tourist industry succeeded in creating rapid economic growth, and modernization. However, Thailand has become so dependent on the tourist industry that a significant reduction of the number of tourist, for any reason, would likely result in the collapse of the entire Thai economy, which would result in widespread poverty. This is one reason why Thai officials have been reluctant to crack down on the sex industry, which is estimated to contribute a quarter of all of the revenues brought in by tourism. The rapid growth and modernization created by tourism has rapidly changed the economic and social structures of Thailand. These shifts have caused the Thai economy and Thai women to be enslaved to the sex trade. Thailand’s total gross national income has nearly tripled in the past 50 years (World Congress, 2.) Widespread poverty has lead families to consider children, especially females, as economic burdens. Children and women have dropped to the lowest strata of the socioeconomic scale, and have thus suffered the most. The closing of options for many families have compelled parents to force their children to fend for themselves and in some circumstances it has led people to sell their children,...

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Jubilee Campaign. (25 August, 1998). Child Prostitution in Thailand. 28 Feb. 2011 <>.
King, Glenn E. "New World Domain: Southern American Zone: Brazilian Highlands Area." Traditional Cultures A Survey of Nonwestern Experience and Achievement. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc, 2003. 100. Print.
King, Glenn E. "Oceanic Domain: Australian Zone." Traditional Cultures A Survey of Nonwestern Experience and Achievement. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc, 2003. 279. Print.
King, Glenn E. "Old World Domain: Central Zone: Middle East Area." Traditional Cultures A Survey of Nonwestern Experience and Achievement. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc, 2003. 156. Print.
World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. (2000). Backgrounder 1: Prostitution of children. 26 Feb. 2011. <> .
World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. (2000). Overview (Online). 26 Feb. 1011. <>.
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