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Colleges in bid to halt student online flesh trade

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Colleges in bid to halt student online flesh trade | Thaiger

BANGKOK / PHUKET: Colleges and universities need to act against students engaging in “direct-sale” prostitution via social-network websites like Hi5, according to a well-known academic.

Assoc Prof Sukhum Chaloeysap of Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, which has a campus in Phuket, said all institutes of higher learning should admit that the problem exists and join forces to combat it.

Some students are said to have touted sexual services on Hi5, which has links to more than 1,000 other websites that openly post students’ pictures, many in uniform, and suggestive messages.

He urged the principals of colleges and universities to investigate. Many students’ part-time jobs are affected by the economic slowdown, driving some to prostitution for extra money, he added.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Theera Salukpetch yesterday said the ministry would write to the ICT Ministry, Education Ministry, Social Development and Human Security Ministry and Royal Thai Police as well as Internet service providers asking them to step up the watch for prostitution on the Web.

He blamed the online student sex trade on youth’s “faulty values” and overspending on luxurious and unnecessary items that drove young people to such lengths to get quick cash.

Ramjitti Institute director Dr Amornwit Nakhonthap said the Internet flesh trade was a long-standing issue and he was not surprised that a popular website like Hi5 was used as a channel for it.

He said this reflected young people’s idea that switching sexual partners was common, and it also changed the erstwhile perspective that only poor children sold themselves, citing a survey that found that most young people in the sex trade were not poor but just wanted money to buy things.

“Direct-sale” student prostitution came to light when Thais aboard urged the Culture Ministry to investigate after they found Thai students, both male and female, posting their pictures, vital statistics, universities and telephone numbers with a view to sexual favors priced between from 1,500 to 3,000 baht.

While the Phuket Gazette does receive reports from time to time of student prostitution in Phuket fueled by sites such as Hi-5, most of which offer user searches by province and/or city, such reports are not easy to substantiate.

The user profiles, including names and photos, posted on ‘social networking’ sites can be whatever the poster wants them to be. Thus, the 22-year-old Phuket “student” seen in cyber-space could well be a 44-year-old construction worker from Mukdahan.

— Nation & Gazette Reporters

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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