From Bangkok to Udon Thani and a Tale of Very Different Thai Girls

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A video story on Bangkok Post’s online newspaper about Miss Teen Thailand 2011 caught my eye this week, reminding me of another article I’d been reading on forum site udonmap and their Udon Thani News section which focused on teenage prostitution among Thai student girls in Udon Thani.

Miss Teen Thailand 2011

Miss Teen Thailand 2011 winner Mookda Narinrak, from Ranong Province in southern Thailand was crowned on February 15, 2012, at Bangkok Convention Centre. Mookda’s crowning glory came a little late due to last year’s flooding in Bangkok, causing postponement of earlier rounds but the gorgeous girl was a worthy winner in the end.


The competition is open to Thai girls between the ages of 15-18, and in the previous four years the winners have come from Bangkok, Chonburi, Suphanburi and Chiang Mai. Those four far-flung places, and Mookda’s home province, prove that if you have beautiful looks, and an appealing charm, then Miss Teen Thailand is an open race for anyone to win. Even someone from Thailand’s poorer areas like Udon Thani.

Miss Teen Thailand 2000 winner Yaowalak Traisurat from Nakhon Si Thammarat, went on to win Miss Thailand Universe 2003 which proves the class of Thai girls who enter this beauty contest and the fierce competition within it. The picture right, is from the above video in which Mookda talks about her hopes of one day working in the entertainment industry, but to do that, she says she must first concentrate on her studies and avoid the complications and rivalries that chasing boys can bring on. Good luck and sweet dreams to Miss Teen Thailand 2011.

Student Sex Workers in Udon Thani

Udon Thani News highlights another side of Thailand’s entertainment business with news that research points to as many as 6,000 of Udon Thani’s university, college and high school girl students being involved in prostitution to help pay for mobile phones, motorbikes and clothing. That’s a disturbing fact, and obviously ‘boom boom‘ and ‘vroom vroom‘, are words learned very early by Udon Thani girls in their school classrooms.

Nisit Sakayaphan, a welfare worker for the Network for Children, Women and Families in Udon Thani briefed a conference in Khon Kaen about research on 14-18 year old Udon Thani girls who frequented Udon Thani nightlife entertainment venues. The findings of the studies revealed over 70% of girl students who visited nightlife hotspots were involved in the sex trade, and the number of teenage sex workers was estimated at being 6,000. Some of them as young as 14.

Udon Thani city has a population of over 100,000 and the province close to 1,500,000 people but I think it’s safe to assume the research on girl students focuses for the majority on the city itself. If so, 6,000 student sex workers is an unbelievably high figure. The research pointed at sexual abuse on teenage girls from men close to the them (read it as you want) as being a major reason for girl students entering the flesh trade. For many, with their virginity involuntarily gone, sex for money is seen as fine dressing the skeleton in their wardrobe.

Each day of the week student girls parade at Udon Thani’s Centrepoint and UD Town night markets dressed in tight white blouses and short black skirts. The girls look sexy, act coy, and they know the sex appeal they radiate. However, it’s still hard to believe that so many Udon Thani girls sell sex, or will do so at some time in the near future.

My interpretation of Udon Thani nightlife entertainment venues and sex student workers may be different to your thinking, because I believe very few western men hire these girls. The venues would be Thai bars, clubs and karaoke haunts, and the lion’s share of punters wealthy married Thai men. And much of the students underskirt business is conveyed via mobile phones on a ‘have vroom vroom, can boom boom your room‘ basis. But I believe the figure of 6,000 Udon Thani girls being involved in prostitution is way too high. What about you?

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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

12 Responses

  1. T.J. Altman says:

    6,000 is an awfully ambitious number even at the last population estimate of a quarter million for Udon Thani city. That would be just shy of 5% of the total female population overall and likely 25% or more of the females aged 14-26.

  2. Martyn says:

    T.J. – The number is high and I have my doubts about it. Research can sometimes throw up some horrid results and in the case of teenagers there’s probably a degree of exaggeration in some of their answers.

    The population of Udon Thani…some put it at your figure, others much lower. I don’t think anyone really knows.

  3. Gunther says:

    I believe 6,000 is low, especially if you count the 100,000 plus females from Udon Thani province between ages 16 and 25 working as prostitutes in greater Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Hat Yai.

    Abortion on demand, government pensions for the parents, some form of alimony and child support, higher levels of education and technical training, a more meaningful minimum wage…..all these items would help diminish the overall numbers.

  4. Martyn says:

    Gunther – It’s the claimed 6,000 student sex workers I’m talking about and you think that’s a bit on the low side. If so, then that is worrying. Especially as some are so young.

    Your ‘cure the whore’ program would certainly stop quite a few of the girls entering the flesh trade but you know the things you point to aren’t going to happen. The country seems to turn a blind eye to prostitution. It’s either that or bring on programs like child support. A blind eye is much cheaper to govern.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful comment.

  5. Snap says:

    I totally agree with Gunther’s second paragraph, I’m clueless on the 6,000 issue though.

  6. Martyn says:

    Snap – Gunther has made some excellent points but unfortunately they won’t be put into place.

    Sex student workers see the lure of making a fast buck, or baht, as a way of getting the luxuries they so desire. Motorbikes, designer clothes and mobile phones. It’s ironic that these very tools are the ones that along with good looks are essential to success in the business they’re in.

  7. Snap says:

    Martyn, call me naive, but I never thought of prostitution as a means of earning ‘pocket money’… a very sad situation indeed.

  8. Martyn says:

    Snap – Pocket money, pin money, at the end of the day I guess it’s a wage. In the case of many Thai high school and university girls they would have nil income and so laying on their back and thinking of Thailand is their way of getting the luxuries in life their more affluent friends (students) have.

  9. Catherine says:

    “Abortion on demand, government pensions for the parents, some form of alimony and child support, higher levels of education and technical training, a more meaningful minimum wage…..all these items would help diminish the overall numbers.”

    Agreed. And I’d add less corruption to your list.

    [ Martyn, I’m not sure what’s happening to your commentluv code but I only have a choice of jpgs from my site – not posts. Is it you? Or me? ]

  10. Martyn says:

    Catherine – Corruption and prostitution…that’s a whole new ball game and one worthy of a post but not from me. I tend to stay out of topics which might antagonize people in power.

    Commentluv….I’ve not added or updated any plugins lately and that’s usually one of the main causes of things going wrong on sites. Snap’s latest comment (April 1) is showing her newest post and so I’m guessing with a slice of probability thrown in that’s it’s your end causing the problem.

  11. Allie says:

    I think that the number should not be the issue here. In my opinion, it is what drives those young women into prostitution that should be looked upon; in this case, the want for material things like mobile phones, motorbikes and clothing.

  12. Martyn says:

    Allie – I won’t dilly dally on this subject for too long but you have made a very good point. The answer as to why is a lack of money and decent paying work opportunities.

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