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Child prostitution thrives in Thailand

Child prostitution thrives in Thailand. Despite a revival in Thailand’s tourism industry after the pandemic, a darker resurgence has accompanied it—the notorious sex tourism industry, fueling child sex trafficking. A 2014 UNAIDS report revealed that Thailand had over 123,530 female and 18,239 male sex workers in 2010, with nearly 40% being children in 2007.

Impoverished girls and boys, some as young as eight, are coerced into prostitution, exploiting the lucrative child sex industry. Thailand’s income inequality propels families to resort to prostituting their children. The ambiguous and loosely enforced laws contribute to the thriving red-light districts, making sexual services, including those involving minors, readily accessible.

The sex industry’s contribution to Thailand’s GDP is estimated at $6.4 billion annually, around 1.5% of the country’s GDP in 2015. Despite legal prohibitions, NGOs like the HUG Project in Chiang Mai actively combat child trafficking, assisting victims, conducting training workshops, and collaborating with law enforcement and policymakers.

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