Child Prostitution in Thailand: Listening to Rahab

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Haworth Press, 2003 - Family & Relationships - 105 pages
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What can we learn from the tragedy of these exploited young people?

In Thailand, a thriving sex industry makes its money exploiting the young. Some children are coerced into prostitution and some have been sold into sexual slavery by their own families, but just as tragically there is no shortage of young girls (and boys) willing to work as prostitutes. Child Prostitution in Thailand: Listening to Rahab searches for the reasons why. This uniquely insightful book looks into the lives--and even more importantly, listens to the words--of ten Thai prostitutes. Child Prostitution in Thailand is about what we can learn from them--who they are, what they go through, and why.

In their own words, the young prostitutes you'll meet in this book Thailand discuss what brought them into this life. Some have come from a tragic home situation, but not all are impoverished, orphaned, or abused. Nevertheless, they have entered into a dangerous and degrading lifestyle that often leads to violence, sickness, and early death. Of these ten prostitutes, one has already passed away and four more are dying with AIDS.

This remarkable volume will help you to understand:
  • how Thailand's child prostitution industry developed
  • the impact upon girls and young women of Thailand's evolution from an agriculturally based economy to an industrial one
  • changing forms of child prostitution
  • who the customers are
  • the role of tourism and its impact on child prostitution in Thailand
  • how poverty, poor education, a sexually focused mass media, lack of religious emphasis, disability, and the lack of a clear policy on child prostitution help the sex industry to thrive
This book also explores the details of child prostitution in Thailand--for instance, in open-air “restaurants” and “pubs” in Chiang Mai, your young waitress may double as a sex worker--and her provocative “uniform” represents a dress code enforced by the establishment's owner. A “café” is another kind of sex service disguised as (and functioning as) a bar/restaurant. Here, young girls working ten- and eleven-hour shifts in short skirts must wear price tags pinned to their shirts and may have to service five to ten clients per night.

The head of the U.S. State Department's office for international women's issues estimates that traffickers bring 50,000 women and children into the United States illegally each year. The lessons Listening to Rahab teaches can help us to better understand the situation here at home as well as overseas. A helpful appendix assessing incidents of child prostitution around the globe bring the information even more clearly into focus.

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About the author (2003)

Siroj Sorajjakool is professor of religion, psychology, and counseling at Loma Linda University and pastoral counseling supervisor at Loma Linda and at Claremont School of Theology. He has a Ph.D. in theology and personality from Claremont School of Theology. He has published extensively in Thai and English.

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