University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Global Sex Trade in Thailand and Dominican Republic
Prostitution which has been known as the oldest profession around the globe serves to be one of the immoral professions by most countries depending on their religion (Dr1. com, 2008). Mostly seen on developing countries, prostitution provides easy access to money as poor individuals lack enough opportunity to have better and decent jobs. Though developed countries also have prostitution on their dark streets, relative to developing countries, they have less case of prostitution or should we say discrete enough to bury this profession to the underground market.
Needless to say, there have been theories explaining why developing countries have more incidence of prostitution as compared to those of the developed ones. Some market analysts say that it was all due to the intense policies that developed countries implement against prostitution while others suggests that it could be due to cultural differences between developed and developing countries. Poverty serves to be the primary reason why most people chose to enter the profession of being a prostitute.
The prostitution industry greatly help the economy of most developing countries though it cannot be seen on their economic indicators since government officials do not include the income from prostitution into their GDP and GNP, rather, the benefits from the prostitution industry can be seen on the disposable income of those people that becomes prostitute. This improvement of disposable income of individuals in a given developing country would provide economic progress on its domestic market.
Furthermore, prostitution also attract more tourist to visit a country thereby giving way for the rise of the concept of “Sex Tourism” which improves the national income of developing countries especially Dominican Republic and Thailand. Among those developing countries, the Dominican Republic and Thailand have rampant prostitution on the streets as compared to other countries. Incidentally, this paper aims to determine the difference between the sex tourism in Dominican Republic and Thailand as well as the respective government policies that both identified countries implements in order to combat prostitution into their country.
Sex Tourism in Dominican Republic Among the countries in the Caribbean region, the Dominican Republic serves as the primary destination for female sex tourism and tagged as the “single man’s destination”. Most of the prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are still minors and roughly equal to 25,000 in number. Some of the sex tourist destination in Dominican Republic would be the Rio San Juan, Cabarete, Sosua, Laperon, and their capital city Santo Domingo which accounts to roughly 50,000 prostitute women including underage prostitutes (Paralum.
com, 2008). Most of the tourists in the Dominican Republic come from developed countries like United States and United Kingdom to name a few. It is already normal to see a foreigner from a developed country being accompanied by Dominican women. Prostitution seems to be socially acceptable in the society of Dominican Republic. Like for instance, it is normal for most of the bars to have waitresses that also offers sex service to their customers as well as they also tend to dress skimpy dress in order to attract tourist to go to their bar.
Local police officers just let this kind of situation in exchange for bribe from the owners of the bars and stores on the “hot spots” of Dominican Republic. Furthermore, it is not only the local police that accept bribes from the owners of bars that also offers sex service, local authorities and some top government officials do accept payments from the bar owners in exchange for the latter’s safety from lawful dilemma (O’Connell & Sanchez-Taylor, 1995).
Most of the bars that offers sex service in Dominican Republic can be found on its shorelines and beaches. Last 2004, around 3. 4 million vacationers went to Dominican Republic which most of them only go after the prostitution industry on the said country (Gvnet. com, 2008b). This large number of tourist that visits Dominican Republic just for some flesh are too alarming since there is a high chance for various sexual diseases to spread across the said country.
It was identified that Dominican prostitutes prefer not to use condom and will have sex on their clients on two hours for just 300 Pesos (Cohen, 2006). The main reason of most Dominican prostitutes why they entered such profession would be primarily because of poverty and lack of better job opportunity in the Dominican Republic. With the increasing need for sustain their basic necessities; Dominican women have no choice but to embrace prostitution as the main source of their income.
Foreigners pay higher as compared to local customers of Dominican women and girls thereby giving way for the latter to attract more foreigners as their client which at the end of the day would increase the number of foreign visitors to Dominican Republic for its sex tourism. Just like most of developing countries that suffers to rampant prostitution, the main factor that triggers Dominican women and girls to enter such profession would be poverty and lack of better job opportunities.
Furthermore, aside from poverty and lack of better job opportunities, another reason why Dominican women and girls enters prostitution would be due to lax policies and regulations on the part of the Dominican government officials. Known as one of the top corrupt countries around the globe, Dominican Republic government officials tends to let the booming of sex tourism on their country in exchange for some bribe from the owners of bars, and traffickers of prostitutes in Dominican Republic. Actually, there are two types pf prostitution in Dominican Republic.
The first type would be the prostitution within the Dominican Republic while the second type would be the prostitution of Dominican Women and girls to other countries like United States, United Kingdom and Netherlands to name a few. Like for instance, around 10 percent of the total visas issued to Dominicans each year are for prostitution. Furthermore, there are around 50,000 Dominican women around the globe that serves to sex industry and this is the fourth highest number in the world after Thailand, Brazil, and Philippines.
The extensive corruption on the borders of Dominican Republic contributes for the easy migration of Dominican women and girls to other countries for prostitution. Despite of the fact that most government officials of Dominican Republic that are corrupt and just ignore the sex tourism in their country, there are still significant number of responsible government officials in the said country, together with concerned citizens and Non-Government Organizations that works hand in hand in combating the worsening of prostitution industry in Dominican Republic.
Various policies were passed in order to minimize the incidence of prostitution in Dominican Republic like the Code of the Minors which protects the rights, welfare, and interests of children and adolescents which the government will primarily provide (Ecpat. net, 2005). This Code of the Minor should minimize the number of minor that enters the profession of prostitution Furthermore, with the increasing concern from the global community some of the Dominican Republic officials are being forced to arrest and raid areas where prostitutions houses like in motels, bars, and other “hot spots” of sex tourism from the said country.
With the efforts of the United States on providing aids to Dominican Republic in combating its rampant prostitution, still, the problem remains intact on the culture and norms of every Dominican women, girls, bar owners and foreigners as there will still be government officials of the Dominican Republic that continues to accept their bribes in order to let the operation of sex industry in Dominican Republic to continue.
At the end of the day, it is clear that the efforts of various organizations and foreign government are useless unless the Dominican Republic government and citizen’s itself works hand in hand for the eradication of prostitution on their country. With poverty, corruption continues to exist on the systems of Dominican Republic it would be very hard to combat prostitution on the said country as prostitution already become part of its culture and norm. Sex Tourism in Thailand
One of the impressive countries in terms of economic performance in the South East Asian Region, Thailand serves as the role model of its neighboring countries when it comes to attaining high economic growth and stable foreign currency in the international market. But despite of this economic success of Thailand rests a dim profession that most foreigners go after in search of short time pleasure. Sex tourism in Thailand, just like in Dominican Republic is also rampant on its streets as teenager prostitutes, most of them are college students, walks around tourist destination searching for prospect foreigner client.
Actually, it is not only sex trading that is rampant in Thailand, exploitation, sex slavery and even organ harvesting are widespread on the streets of major cities of Thailand (LoBaido, 2002). Police officers tend to accept bribes from the prostitutes and traffickers in exchange for protection. Furthermore, policemen oftentimes are the one to perform exploitation to most Thai women; rape and other inhumane acts are being are just some of the dark experiences that Thai women and girls get from the streets (Sexwork. com, 1999).
During the height of 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, a lot of households suffer financially which forces teenagers from college and high school to go for prostitution in order to sustain their education and their families (Gvnet. com, 2008a). As years past, after the said Asian Financial Depression, Thailand became known for its prostitution industry internationally. Large number of foreigners is visiting Thailand just for this human-flesh trading. Most of the Thai prostitutes hang up to malls, bars, streets, and even to motels and hotels wherein most foreigners can be found (Chirgwin, 2006).
On the other hand, even after the recovery of Thailand from the 1997 Asian Financial Depression, prostitution remains intact on the streets and malls of major cities of Thailand. Not because these Thai women do not have enough money for their education and for their families but rather in order for them to sustain their luxury. With the rise of Thailand’s economy, various international malls wherein branded products dominate their market starts to made Thai college students addictive to shopping.
In order to maintain this addiction of Thai women, they tend to go for prostitution. Furthermore, credit card industry in Thailand in the late 1990s starts to boom which forces every citizens of Thailand to avail credit card services. With this rise of credit card services plus the addiction of most Thai women to shopping, most them already have enough reason to embrace the profession of sex trading. Cyber sex and pornographies are starting to emerge in the Thailand underground market as credit card users can easily collect their payments online.
Prostitution starts to become a part of Thailand’s culture since 1990s and it is already normal for a Thai college student to become a prostitute not because she is poor but rather in order to have enough money to sustain their luxurious cost of living. Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui are just some of the sex tourist destination in Thailand. In Koh Samui alone, there were around 10,000 prostitutes living in that area. If in Dominican Republic, motel, bars and beach resorts are the “hot spots” for human-flesh trading, in Thailand it would be the malls, saunas, and massage parlors.
Furthermore, as compared to Dominican Republic, there are less minor prostitutes in the Thailand underground market for most of them are college students whose age ranges from 18-22 years old enough for them not to be considered as minors. In this regard, it is therefore clear that the present reason for most Thai prostitutes nowadays is not only mainly due to poverty but also due to the commercialization that is presently happening in the domestic market of Thailand.
Most of the Thai prostitutes are college students that only want to have extra money to sustain their addiction to shopping and other expensive materials, while there are still significant number of Thai prostitutes that are not students and just go for human-flesh trading due to poverty and lack of better job opportunity. Furthermore, there are some Thai prostitutes expects for financial support from the men that they sleep with instead of the traditional concept of prostitutes like in Dominican Republic wherein paying the prostitute for her service would be enough and not financially supporting her.
Despite of the rampant and negative connotation of prostitution to most countries, the Thai government is presently considering the legalization of prostitution to their country in order to combat corruption on its police force and government officials. Furthermore, the said plan for the legalization of prostitution in Thailand aims for increasing government’s income as government officials plans to impose tax collection to prostitutes on their country. Last 2003, the Ministry of Justice already posed its initial step for the legalization of prostitution in Thailand.
Relative to other countries, the policies regarding the eradication of prostitution in Thailand is very lax just like in Dominican Republic since, as what has been identified a while ago, the Thai government plans to legalize prostitution into their country which would further boost the sex tourism industry in Thailand. Conclusion Despite of some similarities of sex tourism in Dominican Republic and Thailand, still, there are a great number of differences between these two countries that has been able to identify during the entire discussion of this paper.
The effort of the Thai government to legalize prostitution makes the gap on the difference between the sex tourism industries on both countries to increase. Dominican Republic government officials do not have any intention to legalize prostitution into their country rather intensifying their policies in order to minimize the incidence of prostitution into their country. This really suggests that the Dominican Republic do not want to combat prostitution because if they do they will surely lose significant amount of bribes from the prostitute traffickers and bar owners.
The increasing influence of commercialization to the domestic market of Thailand would just fuel up the rise of prostitution on the said country. At the end of the day, poverty remains the main factor for the existence of prostitution to most developing countries around the globe.
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