According to the Department of State, “Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Victims from neighboring countries, such as China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Fiji migrate willingly to Thailand for various reasons, including fleeing conditions of poverty” (TIPR, 2013, p. 358). The countries that people are fleeing from are known for their poor living conditions, which help contribute to their “push” factors. . These individuals are severely affected by developmental factors like poverty, lack of education, and inequality, which serves to accentuate their susceptibility to traffickers. Thus, traffickers take advantage of their vulnerability, by enticing them with promises of employment and better living conditions by coming to Thailand. The Thai government’s efforts to combat these problems have been insufficient. These individuals lack the support or means to mitigate poverty and reduce their vulnerability. The corruption in Thailand’s border control and law enforcement efforts run rampant creating the perfect “pull” factor for traffickers. This lack of oversight facilitates the trafficking of people across the border and helps to enable perpetrators to avoid punishment.
The widespread corruption and fear of retribution in Thailand also discourages sexually trafficked individuals from confronting their abusers and removing themselves from their detrimental situation. “Foreign migrants, members of ethnic minorities, and stateless persons in Thailand are at the greatest risk of being trafficked” (TIPR, 2013, p. 358). These individuals are extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation, because they are often illegal, impoverished, and often face language or educational barriers. The complicated nature of the Thai legal system further serves to exacerbate this problem, because trafficked individuals are often re-victimized when they are punished for crimes resulting from their exploitation. The government also fails to provide legal alternatives to individuals who decided to confront their traffickers, such as employment during protracted trials or visas for those who face reprisal when returning to their country of origin.
While Thailand still has a long way to go, it is evident that the country has earned their Tier 2 Watch List spot on the State Department’s Tier List, being a country “whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards” (TIPR, 2013). Although the Thai government has not created laws that tackle the issue of sex tourism, the Thai Government claims that, “the criminal code, laws on prostitution, and laws combating trafficking in persons contain provisions to combat sex tourism” (Thailand: The situation, 2011). Despite this assertion, governmental efforts have continuously fallen short in the prosecution of traffickers and the...