A New Friend Shares Her Story
I am back from a week in Bangkok. As a self-proclaimed sex tourist, I rarely travel with sex on my mind. There should be better reasons than just that, but we are all different. I will put in a plug for Bangkok as one of the great tourist destinations for medical care. Medical tourism rivals sex tourism and those who are quick to attack sex tourism should keep that in mind.
As usual I try to meet people, mostly sex workers. I know how common to tell inexperienced potential donors that all these women are subject to violence and abuse. But when I meet these women, I learn that is highly exaggerated. So, I will tell you about Sam. Most sex workers use a nick name. Sam was standing on the street waiting for a customer and I asked her to join me for dinner. Most sex workers I meet are from rural areas in Thailand, but Sam was a Bangkok native. I have seen Sam many times but not every day like some regulars. Her English was good. Here is her story:
Like so many Thai women (and sex workers around the world) jobs were scarce. She told me about her last job. She was able to obtain an inventory of women’s shoes, many colorful modern styles. Like many vendors she spread out a blanket and displayed her shoes where she could. Thailand, and other countries from my experience, have open air markets all over the place. I was impressed with Sam’s initiative. I wish I had asked how she was able to acquire enough shoes. She showed me a picture. This shoe venture died with the covid 19 epidemic.
Now Sam is a babysitter. She cares for a young girl with autism while the child’s parent’s work. I have another friend with an autistic daughter and I know that care is a huge burden with special requirements.
But it is not unusual for a Thai woman with a weak background to find her way to places where sex work is common. In this way a woman surviving with a modest job can have a couple of customers over a week.
I asked my normal questions and Sam assured me that she has no fear of customers and has experienced no violence. She was clear that she is careful and uses condoms.
I did not test that after dinner but there are more questions I would like to ask. Maybe we will have dinner again. Have I mentioned before that many men, especially elder men, have loneliness to deal with? and, for me and others, having an unplanned dinner partner is enough. Of course I gave her some money.
Again, as I hear over and over, sex workers I meet say the same things: no violence, no fear, no pimps, and no huge on rush of customers. Economic issues and difficulty in finding jobs result in sex work being a dependable reliable extra income in tough times.
Here is a reason that sex workers can be impossible to accurately count. Last weekend was the King’s Birthday. a national holiday. I met two women (separately) who told me they were only in that neighborhood to make some extra money because they normally had to be at work the next morning. This is also common. One of those women said she worked in a small factory, but she told me her pay was too low to live on and I agreed. And there she was on the street on that special day hoping I would give her money.
Frankly, I also travel around Thailand and several other countries and these are the kinds of stories I experience and share with you here are far more common that the horrible claims media makes. I see the claims of a lot of violence, of brutal pimps, of child abuse and all I see in that is exaggeration and lies.
But you be the judge. So much of that talk seems extreme enough to be suspicious. But it is the exaggeration, the horrible claims which earn a good income for NGOs from government grants and donations. Frankly, what I have never experienced is humanitarians out and about in the real red-light areas where I make my friends.
I am working on my new book and you can buy Lonely Sex Tourist here: