Chuwit Kamonwisit came to prominence as a nightclub and soapy massage parlour owner. He then became a politician and has now produced an academic paper estimating the extent of the Thai sex industry.
Chuwit pulled no punches about his assessment of
sex for sale in Thailand. He said that there were a million women in the sex trade and it was financially bigger than illegal drugs.
Sex for sale in Thailand was everywhere he said. He listed:
Pubs, bars, beer
bars, karaoke, Go-Go bars, lounges, soapy massage, traditional massage, fake spas, hotels, resorts, cafes, restaurants, barbers/salons acting as fronts for the business, girls on the end of the phone. These days there were sideline girls (those engaging
in sex to pay for their studies or lifestyle in other areas) and pretties (promotional models).
He apologized if any of these were legitimately working outside the sex industry rather than just offering sex. He listed others that keep
the nighttime entertainment business going and live from it such as waitresses and waiters, kitchen staff, salon workers, drivers, guides, cashiers, mamasans, taxi drivers, restaurants, shops, alcohol providers and the like.
He said that poor
education was no obstacle to entering the sex trade and that for a woman aged 18-25 this was their golden years with some in top end Bangkok clubs able to earn 100,000 baht a month (£2400). After 26 things started to go downhill for many women, he said.
When prostitutes were over 30 they went to sell themselves in Pattaya and Phuket or other places where there was a big sex industry.
Some went abroad to work in casinos or Thai massage in Asia, Europe or the US. In Thailand he said the sex
industry continues to grow that it was a multi 100 billion baht industry that eclipsed even the trade in illegal drugs.