Walking Around Street Report: Pedophilia and Prostitution

Recently, after reading more seemingly crazy trafficking stories online milking the emotional angst that comes with the words pedophile and children, I looked more closely into that with this blog in mind.   This is my report – –

My graduate degree is in marketing.  Although many years have passed since that training I still walk into restaurants, for example, and look around at the number of customers, what they are eating, and the time of day.  From that I draw conclusions about how well that business is doing.  It’s in my blood.  This kind of observational research applies to all kinds of businesses.  I thought I would give it a try in Pattaya, Thailand, two hours down the freeway from my home in Bangkok.

Recently pedophilia was front and center in a story about foreign men coming to Pattaya, Thailand.  Pattaya is a beach resort, a huge one, where I go to scuba dive. Sometimes I take mini-vacations there to get away from Bangkok.  So I did that with the deliberate intention of looking for all those foreign pedophiles that are supposed to be everywhere in Pattaya.  As always they seemed to be hiding, but I suspect the forces of the rescue industry will say that pedophiles look just like me, like any man.

So, instead I decided to look for the children who are also supposed to be all over Pattaya and forced to be prostitutes.  Maybe they are easier to find.

There are about five different places in Pattaya where sex workers can be found.  The biggest and most public is along the board walk next to the beach on the ocean side of Beach Road.

The secret place is hard to find.  Maybe it isn’t real

With tongue in cheek I have to guess there is also a mysterious place where those under 18 year old “girls” are located, a place no one has ever directed me to and I have never found.  I have not deliberately been looking for this famous place, but, since anti-trafficking blogs seem to know all about it, you would think I would know about it too.  Hey, I live here.  But, sorry, I have no idea where that is.

I wonder, based on my experience, if it is located only in the imagination of those who want it to be there somewhere because talking about it is good for their donations.  I realize I am being sarcastic but if the rescue industry forces care to comment I suspect they will say, ad infinitum, this is is a hidden vice.

Of course, as a person with graduate level marketing training, I suspect that something that appears to be hidden is more likely to be non-existent since, if a product is hidden, it is not likely to be selling very well.

Or anti-trafficking zealots might say that any tuk tuk driver can take me to a place with children, if I ask.  Maybe I will test that in future research.

This my “Walking Around” research

Here is what I did in your behalf for the sake of research.  Since I couldn’t find that other place, the secret place where the under 18 year old “girls” all hide,  I walked for over a mile from Walking Street along Beach Street until the “board walk” gets very sparsely populated beyond Soi 6.  And here is my report:

I counted approximately 450 women whom I thought were sex workers.  Yes, 450!  Only at the end did it become hard to keep track of the exact number without taking notes as I walked.  Quite a few were sitting relaxed with much older men than me and I am 67 years old now.  Many older men, and I will just say old men, were in conversation with these women.  Many, and I do mean many, of these women were easily in their 40s and 50s and some older than that.  Some of these quasi-couples were sharing drinks, food or cigarettes.  It looked like a very sociable evening (10-11 pm) at a community senior center.  I was surprised to see this.  Yes, I was surprised to see what was going on there, to see how old many of these people seemed to be.  Nevertheless I did think these older women were indeed sex workers although maybe with as much companionship to offer as sex.  There were also clusters of younger women, but even they looked to be at least in their late 20s or 30s.  Only a very few looked to be younger than 25 years old.

Some were under 18, but were they sex workers?  

Of course you want to hear about those “children” who the pedophiles are looking for, right.  I did not see a single example of any contact or negotiation going on like that, none!  It is easy to tell when a man and sex worker are discussing price and where they can go, etc.  I saw very little of that by people of any age.  Maybe 11 pm was too early.

Here is what I did see.  First, I did see one cluster of four  “girls” who were probably under 18 years old.  I passed them by before turning back to start my count.  They looked like lower high school age, 15 or 16 maybe.  They were giggly, probably because they knew what the older women were doing there.  I approached this group on my second pass (as I was counting) and I considered saying something to see how they would respond.  Maybe they will use some code words or verbal hints that tell me they are sex workers.  But before I could do that they got up from their seats as a group and wandered over to a MacDonald’s Restaurant on the other side of Beach Street.  I paused for a few minutes there and they came out with ice cream cones and did not return to the beach side of the street.

Those were the youngest women I saw who were not with tourist parents.  They did not behave like they were sex workers.

Second, there was one woman who looked young mostly because she was small and slim.  I asked how old she was and she said she was 19 years old.  She could have been lying, but she was the only truly suspicious one.  Since your dedicated researcher, me, is only 5 foot 6 inches on a tall day, I like shorter, slim Thai women and have met many of them.  One delightful friend of mine is under 5 foot tall (150 cm) and only about 77 pounds (35 kilos).  She looks like an American 9th grader but, in fact, she is 25 years old and has four children.  So, when the smallish woman told me she was 19 based on experience, I believe her.

Summation of my “walking around” research – – 

So, in over an hour of cruising this mile long area I saw only this small group, plus one more standing alone, who looked like they could be under 18 years old.  Out of a total count of 450 other women who I thought were sex workers, that would be one percent who might have been under 18 years old.  And their behavior discounted their likelihood of being sex workers.

Again, it remains a mystery where all those pedophiles and all their victims are located.  No street hustler has ever offered to direct me to this special, illegal product that so many blogs seem to think is right there staring every foreign man in the face.  Sorry!  That just isn’t true.

On the other hand, it is worth considering that the entire rescue industry (rescuing sex workers) has been repeatedly exposed as being built on a foundation of lies and exaggeration.  Here it is again.  I am not going to call individual people liars.  The blogs have that extreme heartbreaking story to sell to you back home to raise donations and further their mission.  Very likely the individual people involved may believe their own lies, their own version of the story just as they hope you believe there are children openly available for sex in Thailand.  Anti-trafficking bloggers seem share stories between  each other without ever seeing for themselves what I am reporting to you here.  Or they can walk the same walk as me and see what they want to see – and tell you how horrible it was.  But it isn’t.

A challenge:  I urge you to come to Pattaya yourself.

All the major hotels are in Pattaya: Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn and many more Asian chains that will amaze you.  Many of them are across the street from where I took my walk.  Pattaya is not for everyone.  It is a place with lots  of opportunities for the heavy drinkers.  There is a lot of late night live music.  And, yes, there are adult, willing sex workers available if that’s your thing, but that is true in many countries around the world.

There surely are some – some! – 15-17 year “children”, often young mothers hanging around the fringe hoping to make money like their older sisters are openly allowed to do,  They can’t go to your hotel and they can’t go into bars.  There is no obvious way to find them.  No one I know of is looking specifically for women under 18 years old.  That certainly isn’t what Pattaya is about.  And don’t let anyone tell you that it is.

By the way, in the early 90s I spent two night in Las Vegas.  The one thing that shocked me most there was a big bar with large neon lights just off the main strip which advertised GO Go girls.  So, why was I shocked at that?  The pitch on their big signs was that none of the girls in this bar doing lap dances and so on where older than 20 years.  They were 18 – 19- or 20, and maybe they were even 20 years old since it has been so long ago.  I suggest that if you are looking for men looking for a legal pedophile thrill you will do better in the good old USA than in Thailand.

I have never seen anything to freaky here, not like Las Vegas.  But I’ll keep looking and report to you if I do.

Stay turned for more “walking around” observational reports.

5 Comments

  1. This is not meant as a criticism of the post, but I think I said something that was not dis-similar in my guest spot on Cambodia back in July.

    Reading this, you can draw parallels with WMD in Iraq! We are told that these people exist in their multitudes, but whenever an “Inspection” is undertaken, nothing that counts as “hard evidence” materialises.

    Interestingly enough, you appear to portray pedos in this case, as looking to have sex with under age (18 yrs old) children, when more accurately, a pedo is properly defined as someone with a sexual predilection for pre-pubescent children. An interest in post pubescent teenagers (15-19) is more accurately described as Ephebophilia.

    Nevertheless, your point appears to be one that I have often made myself: that the NGO’s are frequently guilty of grossly exaggerating the problem purely to line their own pockets.

    If you want an example of this, Thailand is a perfect case study. About 20 years ago, efforts were made to calculate how many prostitutes there were in Thailand. Various figures came in including one estimate that figure was 800,000. A consensus was reached among the health NGO’s who were fighting AIDS at that time, that a more realistic figure was 200,000.

    Sometime later someone raised the question about how many under-age prostitutes there were in the Kingdom, and up comes the figure of 800,000 yet again. Clearly if there are are only 200,000 prostitutes, then the figure of 800,000 child prostitutes cannot be right.

    Unlike the author, I have not taken it upon myself to carry out research on behalf of the readers, but I will add that in 11 visits to Pattaya which account for over 200 nights spent there, I have only come across two girls under 18 working in bars. One was the 14 yr old sister of the woman who owned the bar, and her role was purely as a cashier. The other involved a girl who claimed to be 17. As soon as I heard this, I finished my drink and left. So for what it’s worth, I can’t tell you if she was even bar-fineable.

    • I love this kind of affirmation by others. I wish others would speak up. I am taking a more academic stand which slows things up. It is easier to rant a bit – and feel good about it – then to try to be more scientific and deliberate in what I say. I have completed 100 Sex Worker Violence studies with a Thai university involvement. We found 12.3% of sex workers in the Nana Plaza area to have experienced physical violence in the preceding year. The gold standard of research regarding sex worker violence in Thailand is a 2007 study which other studies have relied on. In that study 815 sex workers (all female) were surveys by trained NGO volunteers. They provided data used by others which said that 14.6% of those 815 women experienced sexual or physical violence the week immediately preceding their interview. Are you and I, my reader, the only people in the world with common sense? If 14.6% experienced violence in one week then a cumulative 100% could have experienced violence within 8 weeks. Now that is what NGOs and the US Fed Gov like to see. But to use data like that to study STD issues just doesn’t make sense. This is what I am trying to learn about now. If people involved in the rescue industry sees this response to your comment they will be more likely to resist any efforts I make to see how this study came up with those questionable results. Shhhhh, quiet please! But maybe I just misunderstand. I think we agree we are all SUPPOSED to just KNOW that all sex workers are subject to serious violence all the time. If we doubt it we might be shunned or punished. So,let me move along at my own pace as if this is only a part of my full life and I will report what I learn when I can. Then my own research will climb to 500 or more surveys before I move on to using a similar method to get facts I trust about children and slavery, the other two of the big three words that the rescue industry uses to finance itself. I recently saw some YouTubes with my post about them to show up shortly. People were speaking up about the unfairness of sex offender lists (700,000 people supposedly on them now including many young children who must report for life). This is a contrarian trafficking site but there is a lot of craziness going on right now and I am scared for the life my grandchildren might have ahead of them. You should be too.

      • I read with interest you analysis of the figure of 14.6% of girls being subjected to violence in the previous week.

        If I can first of all correct one misconception you are under: These events are random, so you cannot come to a conclusion that every woman will be attacked in eight weeks, though statistically, 72% will be attacked in that period based on that figure.

        My own non-scientific research leads me to believe that a bar-girl (this is really where my experience is limited too) will average 2-3 customers per week. If this is correct, then combined with the 14.6% figure, a girl can expect to be attacked once every 17 customers on average.

        I am a great believer in the idea that when you are trying to prove/disprove a theory, look for things that should be there but are not, or should not be there but are. In my visits to SEA, I estimate that I have barfined in the region of 100 girls. If these girls were being attacked so frequently, I would have expected to see signs of nervousness once you have them in the “loom”. I would also have expected to see signs of “due diligence” such as her co-workers taking pics of you on their phones, or her telling them which hotel she is going to. Or when they get to the room, calling a friend to give them the room no.

        Just to add to that, though it is not a question I have ever asked, I have never yet heard a girl say she or any of her friends were attacked by a customer and I have been known to spend up to three weeks with the same girl. I have heard plenty complain about Cheap Charlies, but that is about it.

        The other thing I would expect to see are bar-girls showing signs of abuse such as injuries.

        I have no doubt that from time to time, these girls are abused, but the figure of 14.6% per week, seems way out of kilter with my limited personal experience.

        • Howdy – – thanks for the comments. No I don’t think for a minute that every sex worker could be attacked in eight weeks. But 14.6 X 8 equals more than 100% and so the total number who were in the sample size could be subject to physical violence in eight weeks, some several times and some not at all. There are some sex workers whose attitude and/or aptitude for the work attracts violence and some who are almost always safe for the same reasons. For me common sense flares up about things like this. My initial study of 100 sex workers showed less that 14% who experienced violence when asked about that over the previous year. If less than 13% claim violence over the preceding year, I am suspicious of data that claims a higher number over only one week. Wouldn’t you? I am hoping to see what it is that I don’t understand about this study. I want to believe a quality university did proper academic research. I do know that NGO volunteers had a big role in the research process. But I am waiting to see the original report. If I can not get it I will assume they are not proud of their work and their own common sense tells them not to ask/or encourage questions. Please note that all the methods you suggest that a sex worker can use to protect herself are common in America, from my experience, but are virtually unknown in SoEast Asia. That the sex workers we have met show little or no concern about their chance of experiencing violence tells us many things: one is that there is less violence than we are being told, two is that maybe violence exists some places, like America, but not in places we are happy to visit, and, three, the “violence narrative” is necessary to justify American imperialism and NGO aggression in other countries when there is so much else they should be doing at home. What do you think of that reply?

          • Thanks for the reply. I was not so much implying that you believed that every woman was attacked once every eight weeks, as trying to find out if you knew how to calculate random chance.

            I think we are both in agreement on this issue, even though we come at it from different positions. More to the point though. if we can come to the same conclusion using two completely methods, then the likelihood we are wrong is reduced.

            As I said, my belief is based on the absence of precautions that these girls take because they do not see it as a problem. But before someone tries to explain that away as evidence of a naivete inherent in these girls, I would point out that there is a known problem with some Indian customers, which leads many of these girls to avoid them. This is evidence tha they do take steps where a problem is perceived.

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