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The AIDS problem in Thailand was seen close-up by this writer, then a fourth year medical student, studying during an international health elective. At all three hospitals where I worked, I encountered large numbers of AIDS related admissions. Ten percent of medical beds at a Bangkok hospital were occupied by patients with AIDS related problems. In comparison, two hospitals located in the northern province of Chiang Mai had 15–20% and 30–40% of their beds occupied by patients with AIDS complications. Opportunistic infections were the primary reason for admissions. This paper describes the current AIDS epidemic in Thailand and the preventive measures being undertaken to combat it.
Strategies to combat AIDS focus on preventive measures. The current program in Thailand emphasizes AIDS education and awareness, the promotion of condom usage, decreasing needle sharing, the screening of donated blood, and the development of the GP160 vaccine. The program, however, has been undermined by the country’s well organized sex industry. Without a clear commitment from the Thai government, Thailand faces serious health and economic consequences from this epidemic in the coming decade.
Prostitute in Mae Sot Teen girls
Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery.
In the early years of the 21st Century gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Thailand.htm.
Kingdom of Thailand.
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand was one of East Asia’s best performers from 2002-04, averaging more than 6% annual real GDP growth. However, overall economic growth has fallen sharply – averaging 4.9% from 2005 to 2007 – as persistent political crisis stalled infrastructure mega-projects, eroded investor and consumer confidence, and damaged the country’s international image . [ The World Factbook , U.S.C.I.A. 2009]
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Thailand’s relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries and from as far away as Russia and Fiji who flee conditions of poverty and, in the case of Burma, military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce, or defraud undocumented migrants into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation. Following migration to Thailand, men, women, and children, primarily from Burma, are trafficked for forced labor in fishing-related industries, factories, agriculture, construction, domestic work, and begging. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Ethnic minorities such as northern hill tribe peoples, many of whom do not have legal status in the country, are at a disproportionately high risk for trafficking internally and abroad. – U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009 [full country report]
CAUTION: The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Thailand. Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false. No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.
Thai Government and International Organizations Pledge Cooperation to Provide Assistance to Victims.
humantrafficking.org, News & Updates , 04 June 2007 — Adapted from: "Trading in People: To ensure adults and children trafficked in Thailand receive help, state and international agencies have signed an agreement to not discriminate between victims." The Bangkok Post (Outlook), 21 May 2007 (edited). (Source: UNIAP Thailand)
[accessed 29 December 2010]
When she finally managed to escape, she rushed to a policeman for help. But worse was to come. The woman was deported and was left to find her way home from the Thai border. Walking through the jungle, she was repeatedly raped by groups of Karen guerrillas. Traumatised and lost, she was eventually rescued by a stranger who took her to a refugee camp in Mae Hong Son, from where she was sent to Suan Prung Mental Hospital in Chiang Mai when camp staff realised she had lost her mind.
While poor women from neighbouring countries enter Thailand in pursuit of work, many Thai women head overseas for the same reason. And many end up in similarly hellish conditions, said psychologist Pornsri Boonthanasathit who has worked with many victims of human trafficking.
The misery of male slavery – Trafficking of Men in Thailand.
humantrafficking.org, News & Updates, 17 May 2007 — Adapted from: "The misery of male slavery." The Nation. 14 May 2007.
[accessed 29 December 2010]
The fight against human trafficking has for more than a decade tried to protect women and children, often forgetting that men, too, are victims of "new slavery".
The commission reports that between July 17 and July 19 of 2003, six fishing trawlers with about 100 crew sailed from Tha Chalom in Samut Sakhon province to fish Indonesian territorial waters. Most of the crew were migrant workers and four were younger than 16. None were allowed home leave for three years. The trawlers returned to Thailand in July last year.