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BANGKOK (RNS) Thailand is struggling to curb sex trafficking amid international pressure and dozens of American groups, many of them evangelical, have entered the country in recent years to fight the issue, with the blessing of U.S. foreign policy.


  1. You would think that evangelicals would be more concerned about the horrors of marriage in which young women are forced to become sex slaves of their husbands… and that these good Christians would spend far more of their time and energy rescuing REAL victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse than rescuing women who do not need or want to be ‘rehabilitated’ and taught to sew and then forced to work in sweatshops making clothing for Walmart or other American retail stores for far less than minimum wage. But that would not be consistent with their views that it is okay for husbands to beat and rape their wives, because its God’s will, as a wife must always submit to her husband and when she doesn’t, he can discipline her and take her anyway. Not to mention, in some countries, girls as young as 8 (or even younger) are forced into marriage to a much older man. In fact, the average age of entry into marriage is 12 (or maybe it is 13 or 14), and those poor girls are forced to have many, many children for their husbands, and some of the girls die on their wedding night when their husbands deflower them.

    Sure, I know that some women and girls are happy being married, and they aren’t victims of domestic violence, but for the majority of women and young girls it isn’t a choice- they often decide to get married out of economic desperation- thinking that a life married to an abusive man won’t be all that bad, and besides, he will take care of her and any children she produces for him. As the violence in their marriages increases, married women often turn to drugs and alcohol to blur the pain, knowing that they cannot leave their husbands or the husbands will search for them and beat them or even kill them. They are forced to remain with their husbands until the husbands decided they want younger, prettier women and kick them out. By that time, these poor victims are too old and too damaged to even find work to take care of themselves and their children. Sure, marriage can be good for some wives, but for so many more, it can be a nightmare. Someone ought to be out there rescuing those poor wives- and fighting to end the demand for marriage to stop the violence against women.

    Oh- by the way, I am one of those women who is happily married (38 years in February), AND one of those sex workers who never experienced violence or being trafficked. Before I became a sex worker, I also spent ten long miserable years working in a job that left me horribly angry and suffering from PTSD…. and that was working for the Los Angeles Police Department. I did not find the police corruption to my liking and decided to go into a more honest profession. Stop trying to ‘end prostitution’ and work with sex workers to make our work safe and to end violence against ALL women, including sex workers AND wives.

    • Thanks Norma Jean. I am Mai from Can Do..a very clean bar! I said a lot but she only put a little. Ruxandra I feel bad about your story. You said you would show me first but you did not. You came when the bar was closed and I gave you free education and we looked after you and your family. Why does jewelry maker and American woman get so much more space than me? They know 205 sex worker who quit their jobs. Empower knows 50,000 who do not. They have more money than us but no one joining. Sex workers want to make a good life not jewlry. So sad tonight to be pinched into such tiny and not very clean space in people’s minds. (translated by empower)

  2. Hello Norma Jean, Mai — Thank you both for reading, and for your comments. I’m sorry you felt misrepresented in the story, Mai, my intention was actually to focus this story on the phenomenon of US Evangelical groups’ presence and role in the sex industry in Thailand while also taking a critical approach. Yours was one of the pro sex worker voices while explaining that many of those rescues don’t work; that sex work provides you and many other women with a means to make a living and with a choice; and that the Can Do model is one that gives dignity and tools to many sex workers who can often be exploited by other bars. We talked about all those things, and I was true to what you said. Thanks again for sharing your story with me, and my apologies if you felt misrepresented. Take care.

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    […] Guidi, R. (2014, January 3). In Thailand, U.S. Evangelicals Work to End Prostitution. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from […]