Monday, April 23, 2012

Sex Tourism, Prostitution and forgotten roles.

             I don’t know much about Thai culture beyond what is perceived of it from an outside perspective.  From that, I would conclude that the entire country has sold itself to the west by way of prostitution, cheap thrills and beyond.  From movies like ‘Bangkok Dangerous’ to ‘The Hangover Part II’, where the recurring theme seems to be brothels, drugs and sex.  If I were to ask you, or anyone else for that matter, what comes to mind when I mention: ‘Thailand’, I’m sure your answer would be no different.  The sexual appetite of this world is massive and it has clearly found a smorgasbord in Thailand.  ‘Sex Tourism’ has grown to a point where impoverished families are selling their own children into the sex industry. What was once sought after from a point of desperation has now become cultural. Why?  It’s easy to look at a country like Thailand and see it the way we want to see it but like most countries, there is a reason why it is the way it is today.  Crucial historical events set the scene and Thailand responded out of necessity. 

            Slavery was abolished in Thailand in 1800 and new legislation was implemented that forbid men to sell their wives.  With poverty a growing concern, women began to prostitute themselves to earn enough money to live and provide for their families.  According to the Thai government, there are 75,000 prostitutes in Thailand.  However, this figure may not even come close to the accurate figure. 

            The more ‘glamorized’ and ‘popular’ sex scene as we know it today was brought into fruition in approximately 1964 during the Vietnam war after the United States Government established seven military bases in Thailand.  Thailand agreed to provide American soldiers with “Rest and Recreation” or as the soldiers called it: “I & I” (intercourse and intoxication).  Poverty continued to run rampant and many bars and businesses began converting their establishments into strip clubs and brothels as they saw fresh clientele stepping off the boats in packs. 

In 1975, the war ended and the soldiers went home taking with them all the stories and experiences of prostitutes and brothels back to their homes.  Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the new generation of ‘sex tourists’ arrived and set up shop in Thailand.  Officially, the Thai government does not condone ‘sex tourism’ and does not want to be seen as such a government that does.  However, 60% of Thailand’s income comes from tourism, sex tourism.  At a whopping 4 billion US dollars a year gross, sex tourism is not only drowning the moral of the country, but also allowing it to continue.  Looking at the Thai sex trade, versus government and finance, one word is left in mind: ‘irony’.

I stood in front of my class today to present this information to them following another similar themed presentation.  The previous student spoke on men frequenting brothels and and others selling their  wives and children into the sex trade to compensate for the worsening poverty.  Now, being a man, there's a degree on intimidation and obligation that arises when being in a class comprised of one guy (me) and eight girls.  The intimidation becomes a factor given their 'possible' negative experiences with men.  I have been outnumbered on previous teams that would gang up on the guys based on their experience with other men.  Being a man, I want to behave like a man.  Not in the way the world's stereotypical agenda has created but--what God had in mind when he created us.  

As my peer went on about men forgoing their responsibility to their families and engaging in horrific and damaging sexual acts, I was overcome with a great sadness that brought tears to my eyes.  I stood in front of my eight women class and began to talk about the issue.  Maybe it's because of my past but this topic really grieves my heart.  We are supposed to be men of integrity that value our wives and children--to fight for them and put them before ourselves.  My emotional response caught me off guard somewhat.  I continued to tear up throughout my presentation and even after I sat down.  Maybe God has put this on my heart for a reason.  

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you..  

Thanks for reading.


Bethany Lauren said...

Men like you help change perceptions that women have when they've experienced men who only pretended to live with humanity.

Great piece.

Anonymous said...

My university class is almost all women as well and they did several topics that relate to this as well. However, not to downplay this subject at all obviously, but I did my presentation on misandry. It was only about how men are committing suicide 6 times as often, are dropping out of university like flies, in jail 14 times as often, homeless at least 100 times as often, are treated terribly in the family and divorce courts (courts in general), male prostitution, the horrible treatment in the media, how there are almost no programs or awareness at all for them because of the horrible stereotypes they live with every day in a feminist society...and yeah, i pretty much experienced what you said 'ganging up on the guys'. They pretty much blasted my character (didn't even mention my statistics and actual research) for 15 straight minutes and stormed out in tears. So yeah, even though I don't know anything about you, surely we can agree upon the fact that while it's a good thing to be aware of these's also good sometimes to stand up for other controversial issues that are completely neglected, especially in university. In my experience, unversity, whenever it comes to gender, is reduced to the two or three men left in the entire class pretty much just apologizing for being male and it's hypocritical that we're never allowed to stand up for the men.
Sorry, it was completely random that I came across this blog and I just had to get that off my chest for some reason.

Vivien said...

Miss you.