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Country in Focus: Thailand

Posted by feww on August 24, 2008

Do No Evil [sic] Google  Has Blocked This Page!

Time to Abolish Thai Monarchy!

Thailand’s Wealthy King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand’s “revered” King Bhumibol Adulyadej waves to guests from the balcony of the Grand Palace in Bangkok on his 80th birthday December 5, 2007. (Royal Palace/Handout/Reuters)


The Wealthy King:

King Bhumibol, 80, monarch for 62 years, is the world’s richest royal. His fortune is estimated at 35 billion dollars, Forbes said.

Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of the royal family’s wealth, “granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.”


A Right Royal Tragedy

In a country were up to 20 percent of population have no sustainable access to clean water, where at least a quarter of the children under the age of five are malnourished and with a third of the people living in abject poverty, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE for anyone to accumulate so much wealth!

Thailand: Geography

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Myanmar, the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea to the west, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar to the north. Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the east, and Malaysia to the south.


  • Population without sustainable access to an improved water source (2000) : 10.5 million people (16%)
  • Children under weight for age (% under age 5) 1995-2000 : 19 percent
  • Population below $2 per day income (1990-2001) : 21 million people (32.5%) – [source: unsiap]


2008 estimates: 65,493,298
2000 census: 60,606,947

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.) – [source: CIA World Factbook]

Population in Municipal Area (%) : 31.1 percent (about 15.1 % in the capital, Bangkok, and 16 % in Thailand’s other big cities)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 21.2% (male 7,104,776/female 6,781,453)
  • 15-64 years: 70.3% (male 22,763,274/female 23,304,793)
  • 65 years and over: 8.5% (male 2,516,721/female 3,022,281) (2008 est.)
  • 15-59 labor force: 66.5%
  • Women in reproductive ages : 17,032,000

Sex ratio (Males per 100 females): 97.0

Median age:

  • total: 32.8 years
  • male: 32 years
  • female: 33.7 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.64% (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Main Religion: About 95 percent of the population are Buddhists.


[Source: peopledaily, December 14, 2001] Thailand ranks third after India and the U.S. in the number of child prostitutes, the United Nations (UN) said in its report prepared for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation which will be held in Japan Saturday, the Nation Newspaper reported Friday.

Number of women and children that are believed to be sexually exploited in

  • India: about 400,000 [population of 1,137 million]
  • United States: between 244,000 and 325,000 [305 million]
  • Thailand: 200,000 [65.5million]
  • Eastern and central Europe175,000 [about 200 0million]
  • Brazil: 100,000 [187.5 million]
  • West Africa: 35,000 [about 250 million]

However, based on the national/regional populations, a larger percentage of women and children are sexually exploited in Thailand than in any other country/region in the world.

Thai Sex Tourism and Prostitution

[Source: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women] Estimates on the number of women in prostitution range from 300,000 to 2.8 million [many NGOs conform the larger figure] of which a third are minors. Thai women are also in prostitution in many countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. About 4.6 million Thai men regularly, and at least 500,000 foreign tourists annually, use prostituted women.

Statistics from Tourism Authority of Thailand

  • Number of International arrivals (2007): 14,464,228 foreign visitors
  • Total expenditure: $15,868.53 million (USD)
  • Average length of stay: 9.19 days
  • Per capita spending: $119.38 per day

Calculated as a percentage of the visitor country, the largest per capita number of tourists visiting Thailand in 2007 were from:

  1. Singapore (17.4% of own population), Hong Kong (6.4%), Malaysia (5.7%), Brunei (3.2%)
  2. Sweden (4.1% ), Finland (2.6%), Denmark (2.5%), Norway (2.3%), Switzerland (2%), UK (1.2%), Netherlands (1.1%), Austria (0.9%), Germany ( 0.7%), Belgium ().7%), France (0.5%), Italy (0.3%), Russia (0.2%), Spain (0.2%)
  3. Australia and New Zealand (2.9%)
  4. UAE (2.3%), Israel (1.7%), Kuwait (1.2%)
  5. Korea (2.2%), Taiwan (1.9%), Japan (1%), Philippines (0.2%), China (0.1%), India ( 0.05%)
  6. Canada (0.5%), U.S. (0.2%)

About 60,000 Thai women work as prostitutes in Japan. With 150,000 non-Japanese women, Japan is the largest sex industry market for Asian women ( Filipinas account for about 80,000 of Asian female prostitutes in Japan.)

Child Prostitution in Thailand

The following excerpts are from Child Prostitution in Thailand by Sirirat Pusurinkham, from the Witness:

  • There are two parts to the Thai policy of promoting tourism: one is to sell the physical and cultural beauty of the country; the other is to promote the Thai people, which of course includes sex-related services.
  • Girls as young as 10-12 years old service men in the sex industry. Many of the girls typically have sex with ten to fifteen men every day, and sometimes as many as 20 to 30.
  • Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children.
  • The growth of prostitution in Thailand has had an almost worldwide effect. There are laws against prostitution, but they are not enforced. The police force is corrupt and often joins with the pimps in making money.
  • There are several major reasons why prostitution, including child prostitution, is a growing industry.
  • In Thailand the position of women is a traditional one, remaining from the traditional position they have been assigned in Thai Buddhism. This is found in the traditional cultural attitudes of Thai men, and in the consequences of military presence, and its resulting culture of recreational sex. The social turmoil in Thailand provoked by World War II was a seedbed for the growth of prostitution in the country. It spurred the first example of a sex entertainment center for international tourists in Thailand.
  • The Vietnam War and the resultant R&R activities of service men in Thailand led to a dramatic increase in the use of Thai prostitutes by foreigners in the country. This period was followed by an aggressive tourism campaign, which encouraged tourists to come in great numbers. Most of these tourists were single men. The rapid increase in commercialization was encouraged by the news media.
  • Tourism has brought enormous growth in the construction of hotels, golf courses, condominiums, restaurants and various kinds of entertainment in the cities, and in provincial villages as well. Tourism’s impact on the sex industry — to what is now called sex tourism — has been a major contemporary contributor to the growth of child prostitution in Thailand.
  • In Thailand there has been both migration within the country — from farm to city — and immigration from outside the country. Farming cannot provide a living anymore. Many farmers even go to work in other countries to keep their families from starving. There are no opportunities in rural areas.
  • In Thailand today, women and children are oppressed, abused, exploited, and degraded by society. Daughters of poor families are often sold into prostitution. Some parents sell their children because they need the money for food or dope. Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children. According to recent UNAIDS statistics, out of a total population of 60 million people in Thailand, 755,000 are living with HIV/AIDS. (Source: the Witness).

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation: Thailand

  • In Thailand, trafficking is a THB500 billion [$US = 34 Thai Bhat, THB] annual business, which is 50%- 60% of the government’s annual budget and more lucrative than the drug trade. (Authorites and activists, Kulachada Chaipipat, “New law targets human trafficking,” The Nation, 30 November 1997).
  • Pattaya has a multi-billion dollar multinational sex industry with links to drug trafficking, money laundering and an expanding regional cross-border traffic in women. (Mark Baker, “Sin city can’t shake vice’s grip,” Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 1997)
  • Thailand is a staging point for the international trade in prostitutes and illegal workers, with facilities for the production of false travel documents and processing of foreign nationals to third countries. (Chulalongkorn University, “There’s money everywhere for Thai police,” The Nation, 25 February 1997)
  • Children are increasingly trafficked across Southeast Asia for prostitution, with Thailand being the main destination. Government policy to repatriate some 300,000 illegal workers was criticized because the measure would push illegal migrants, especially children, “further underground”. (International Labour Organization, “Trafficking of children on the rise,” Bangkok Post, 22 July 1998 )
  • Marut, a well-known pimp in Pattaya, was introduced to Russian traffickers by a local expatriate restaurateur. The Russians needed a local link to clients, especially wealthy Thai men. Over 60% of Marut’s clients are government officials, including policemen. Some do not pay for what Marut describes as “special service,” because they are powerful men. The price for “special service” is 3,000 to 6,000 baht depending on the status of the client. (“Pattaya: Murder, prostitution and tourists,” Bangkok Post, 22 April 1998 )
  • Some trafficked women, who were detained at immigration offices, were escorted out of the office at night with permission from officers or ordered to have sex with officers. In one cases four Laotian girls were gang-raped by inmates at a Rayong police station where the women were detained on charges of illegal entry and gambling (Surita Sandosham, Sirinya Wattanasukchai, “Flesh trade shrugs off new risks,” The Nation, 1 May 1997)
  • Close to 300 million dollars is transferred yearly to rural families by women engaged in prostitution in urban areas, a sum that in many cases exceeds the budgets of government-funded development programs. Between 1993 and 1995, it is estimated that prostitution in Thailand produced an annual income of between 22.5 and 27 billion dollars. (Dario Agnote, “Sex trade key part of S.E. Asian economies, study says,” Kyodo News, 18 August 1998 )
  • In Thailand, up to 400,000 children under the age of 16 are believed to be working in brothels, clubs or bars. (Jill Serjeant, “Asia to launch joint crackdown on child sex trade,” Reuters, 1 April 1998 )
  • 40% of the two million in prostitution in Thailand are under 18, meaning that about 850,000 children are in prostitution. (Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Chris Gelken, “Row Over Call to Boycott ‘Paedophile Playground’,” Gemini News, 28 February 1997)
  • 400,000 children under the age of 16 are exploited in brothels, clubs or bars in Thailand. (Campaigners, Robin Cook, “Clampdown on child sex tourism,” BBC News, UK, 4 April 1998 )
  • 250,000 children are bought and sold for sex in Thailand alone. (UNICEF, “UK police join fight against Thai child sex tourism,” BBC, 9 December 1997)


  • Adult prevalence rate: An estimated 1.4% [0.7%–2.1%] of adults in Thailand were living with HIV in 2005 (UNAIDS, 2006b).
  • It is estimated that almost one in five (18%) new HIV infections in 2005 were in sex workers, their clients and those clients’ other partners.
  • Overall, as many as one in five (21%) new HIV infections in 2005 in Thailand were in men who have sex with men, according to one estimate (Gouws et al., 2006), and HIV prevalence in this population is on the rise.
  • HIV/AIDS – deaths: 58,000 (2003 est., CIA World Factbook)
  • Prevalence rate of HIV infection in pregnant women: 1.37 %
  • Prevalence rate of HIV in conscripts : 0.5 %
  • Rate of HIV infection in children aged less than 2 years: 9 % [Source: unescap]
  • People living with HIV/AIDS: at least 755,000 (Source)

Major infectious diseases:

Degree of risk: high

  • Food and waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
  • Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
  • Animal contact disease: rabies
  • Water contact disease: leptospirosis

Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country (2008 – CIA Factbook)


  • Average years of education attainment
    of population aged 15 years and over: 7.8 years
  • Population aged 6-24 years not attending school (%): 34.3 percent


  • Total: 514,000 sq km
  • Land: 511,770 sq km
  • Water: 2,230 sq km

Land use:

  • Arable land: 27.54%
  • permanent crops: 6.93%
  • Other: 65.53% (2005)
  • Irrigated land: 49,860 sq km (2003)

Water Use:

  • Total renewable water resources: 409.9 cu km (1999)
  • Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
  • Per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Current Environmental Issues:
Air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Continued …

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