Unpaid fornication hits “sex workers’
BANGKOK (AFP): The advent of casual sex is bad news for Thailand’s prostitutes who are going idle as their customers increasingly engage in pre-marital sexual relationships, according to a government report. The Ministry of Public Health said a study of 10,000 sex workers revealed each woman had on average only one customer a night, compared to an average of 1.5 a night only three years ago. Six years ago, before the Asian financial crisis left men with little money to spare for trips to brothels, prostitutes could count on three customers a night. The ministry said client numbers are falling off as changing social values mean that casual sex is more available to Thai men. It said a recent survey of men in the country’s north confirmed that ideas on prostitution, which is considered relatively acceptable here, had changed. Only 10 percent of men in their twenties were willing to admit to frequenting brothels, a drop from 55 percent six years ago, it said. Anupong Chitwarakorn, director of the ministry’s AIDS division, said he was positive the survey results weren’t merely the result of men becoming too shy to admit to visiting prostitutes. “No, they are actually telling the truth,” he told The Nation newspaper. “The most recent survey confirmed what we suspected already … and there is no way that 10,000 sex workers are telling us lies.” While the go-go bars in Thailand’s capital and holiday resorts attract legions of foreign visitors, the vast majority of the nation’s estimated 70,000 prostitutes cater to Thai men.
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