This is a real example of a woman who trafficked herself. It is rare and even insulting to think that women “are trafficked” because women are not helpless putty in someone’s hands. They make decisions. Here is this woman’s decision:
I urge you to see my post about “One”. There I explained that, in order to keep some degree of confidentiality for my friends who are nice enough to share their stories with me, I will not use their names. This is the second such story I am sharing and so this is the story of “Two”, a very cute, petite sex worker from the streets of Bangkok.
Being “from the street” only means she works on the street, not that she lives on the street. She has a nice room in what Thais call a Mansion, an inexpensive apartment without a kitchen. A sex worker on the street is completely independent and does not have to punch in a time clock and possibly be fined if she shows up late for work as is the case with many women who work in Bangkok bars. Two used to be my favorite, my good buddy. I could really relax with her. I treated her for lunch several times and was always happy to see her.
Two in Singapore
As the title says Two went to Singapore. It is easy to use the passive tense “she was trafficked”. You see that expression all the time because it is a tool of the “rescue industry.” It deliberately makes it sound like someone dragged her off the street, gagged her, and tossed her into the back of a car. In the world of academia the passive tense can also mean that women are infantilized in this way. That means “To treat or condescend as if still a young child.” The academic papers I doubt you see rail against the anti-trafficking and feminist bloggers who are condescending toward sex workers and treat them like a child. Sex workers are people and certainly not helpless putty neither in the hands of a pimp nor a feminist zealot.
The truth is that going to Singapore was Two’s decision. She heard from friends about an opportunity in Singapore. They told her where to go and what to expect if she went there, and it sounded pretty good. And off she went on her own.
Two took a plane (not so expensive from Bangkok to Singapore), got a room, and went to work along side other women from several countries. As I said Two is very cute and petite. Plus Two has the aptitude for this work because she makes a lonely man feel good about himself. So, you ask, “What happened?” Did she get beaten up? Did she get arrested? Sorry, all you crazy rescue industry people, nothing like that happened.
Two explained to me that she paid off all the expenses for her trip in the first week there. Thai people can have a two week “shopping visa” in Singapore. For Two the second week was all profit. Two stayed within the restriction of the visa and was very happy to bring home about 30,000 baht profit in two weeks. That is more than she would have made all month on her old corner in Bangkok. And the net profit is about twice what a Thai high school teacher makes all month (15,000 baht a month, read about there here).
Two did very well in Singapore and went back two more times.
Chapter two in the life of Two
Two is quite the good small business woman, in my opinion. Unfortunately her success after these trips to Singapore may have gone to her head because she paid an illegal trafficking organization for help to go to Bahrain where she hoped to make a lot more money. It was tough going. She had bigger fees to pay off and she complained to me in emails about a shortage of customers to pay those fees. She worked in a bar close to an American navel base. Americans are officially intimidated from any contact with sex workers any where in the world these days now that American has gone a little crazy about this issue they invented called “trafficking.”
Two has been in Bahrain for more than two years now and, although she is often disappoint, she is not complaining. Over a year ago Two flatly refused my help ($1,600 in cash) to pay off fees and over-stay fines she owed before she could come back to Thailand. She insisted she can still bring home a big profit. She is in her mid-30s and probably hopes to retire on the profit she expects.
In her last message she said she met a nice man who is a very wealthy special customer so she is sending more money home to her family. She lives with him when he is in Bahrain but he lives somewhere else – with his wife.
If I email her, she answers. So, maybe there may be another chapter in the life of Two to share with you another time. I do wish her the best of luck.
Chapter three in the life of Two
More thane three years have passed since this story began. Two is still my friend. She is back from Bahrain. She is pregnant – about seven months now. Her British boyfriend does not return emails. He is married by the way which Two learned after several months.
She is my friend. I will pay for the hospital delivery. I will take great pride in doing that. I will hold the baby and get a picture. Then there will be little more I can do. She has already said in an email that she will return to Bangkok to return to sex work as soon as possible.
Now that Two is home in the Issan portion of Thailand she told me she does some work and makes about 50 baht a day. That is $1.50 for a days work but enough to eat in Issan. I’m not sure what she is doing but she is NOT making the $270.00 for one sex act as she did in Bahrain. She is not making the $30.00 for one sex act as she did in Bangkok. She is making $1.50.
She was nice enough to send a picture. Meet Two, a real sex worker who trafficked herself chasing the opportunity she did not have in any other way. Sad as this story may be to some, it certainly breaks the kind of stereotyped stories you hear on most blogs?