Junta to purge Pattaya of prostitution

In response to a recent report that labels Pattaya as the “world’s sex capital”, the junta head has announced a crackdown on prostitution. 
 
On 21 February 2017, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister and junta head, announced that he will order the police to uproot Pattaya’s sex industry. He asserted that local authorities always do their best to suppress the industry.
 
This statement came after the Mirror reported that Pattaya has the world’s highest number of prostitutes, deserving the title “world’s sex capital”. The report claimed that Pattaya has more than 27,000 prostitutes, roughly one for every five people living in the east coast city visited by more than a million men each year.
 
Prayut said the Thai media should not highlight the issue due to the risk of tarnishing the country’s image, adding that the Thai media should not believe a story written by foreigners. 
 
“You’re the Thai media. Do you believe them? Do the authorities arrest [prostitutes]? Yes, they do. I will order the police to clear them out. And let’s see if there will be any trouble. I don’t support prostitution. I follow the law,” said Prayut. “Instead of improving Thailand’s image, you [media] just keep blaming the government. Why? I don’t get it.”
 
Every year, Thailand’s sex industry draws millions of tourists to the country. The Thai government has never revealed how much the industry contributes to the country’s GDP, but according to a report by Safe World for Women, in 2003 prostitution was a US$4.3 billion industry in Thailand, accounting for an estimated 3 per cent of the country’s income.
 
 
Walking Street is the destination of sex tourists who visit Pattaya (Photo from Ministry of Culture)

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