Thailand is the number 1 sex tourism destination in the world.
Men and women from all over the world fly to Bangkok and Pattaya's famous red light districts in search for sex. Though the government has enacted laws to prosecute child prostitution and sex trafficking, the application of these laws has been lax. Modern-day slavery is largely overlooked.
Every year, the U.S. State Department releases a Trafficking in Persons Report which ranks countries in three tiers, 1 being the most compliant with the "minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and 3 being the least. This year, the U.S. State Department ranked Thailand a Tier 3 country. The report found that:
- Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children victims of forced labor and sex trafficking.
- Many trafficking victims in Thailand migrated voluntarily from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and India seeking better job opportunities. Upon arrival, they are forced to pay exorbitant fees by their smugglers and end up in debt bondage.
- Girls from Thailand, Burma, and Laos are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotel rooms, and private residences.
- Local NGOs report an increasing use of social media to recruit children into sex trafficking.
- The prevalence of corrupt immigration and police officers continues to hinder the anti-trafficking fight. Corrupt officials protect brothels, collude with traffickers, and even engage in commercial sex with child trafficking victims.