Police go after transgender sex workers, urge them not to damage Pattaya’s tourism image

Pattaya police go after transgender sex workers, photo by The Pattaya News.

Police are going after Pattaya’s transgender sex workers. Last night, a team of Pattaya Police and Tourist Police inspected Beach Road, arrested 36 suspected transgender sex workers, and took them to the station for identity recording.

The inspection’s leader, Police Lieutenant Colonel Pitchaya Khiaoplueng, stressed to the suspects that they could not loiter on the beach and offer sexual services to people walking by because it was against Thailand’s prostitution law, and damaged Pattaya’s tourism reputation.

All suspects were released, and Pattaya police pledged to continue their crackdown on prostitution every day, The Pattaya News reported.

The inspection came after anonymous complaints to the police. It also comes two days before the Pattaya International Fireworks festival, which is expected to draw over 100,000 tourists.

As a major tourism and party hotspot, Pattaya has regularly reported transgender individuals committing crimes. There have been over a dozen incidents this year of transgender thieves pickpocketing cash and jewellery from tourists, mainly Indian tourists.

Last week, an Indian tourist in Pattaya reported that a transgender sex worker had stolen his pricey wristwatch. The tourist said the sex worker had also been aggressive and refused to pay back his 1,500 baht after he found out they were transgender.

Pattaya is not the only tourist hotspot reporting issues with transgender sex workers. Today, it was reported that business operators on Patong’s Bangla Road want transgender sex workers to be “cleaned up,” in addition to food and drink vendors.

The president of the Patong Entertainment Business Association said there were consistent complaints about the sex workers being aggressive and pickpocketing.

One transgender foundation in Pattaya has expressed concern about stereotypes spreading due to these crimes. In July, the deputy director of the Pattaya Sisters Foundation urged people not to stereotype the transgender community and says the group of people stealing around Pattaya doesn’t represent the entire community.

Time will tell if police in Thailand’s tourism hotspots can get find a solution to these crimes.

Crime NewsPattaya News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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