January was ugly in our part of Bangkok. We live near Soi Nana, off Sukhumvit Road, a famous tourist site catering for a specific sort of visitor: middle-aged western men. They come to Nana for one reason—to have sex cheaply. November to January is high season in Thailand for holidaymakers from northern nations, and the bars and pavements of Nana are packed with hundreds of people buying and selling sex. January was busier than ever this year.
Learning the Thai sex trade
Police in Thailand on Wednesday arrested a male model accused of taking an unconscious woman home, boasting online about his sexual exploits, and leaving her lifeless body in the lobby of his building. Police brought charges of illegal detention leading to death, abduction with intent of committing an indecent act and molestation against year-old Ratchadech Wongtabut in a case that has riveted the attention of the public and press. Thitima, who used Lunlabelle as her professional name, was hired to attend a party from which Ratchadech left with her on the night of Sept. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lt. Sutthipong Wongpin said at a news conference on Wednesday that Ratchadech acknowledged bringing Thitima to his apartment but said he had no intention to do her harm and did not realize that she was dead while she was with him. Police announced Tuesday that Thitima may have already been dead by the time Ratchadech brought her back to his apartment. They said Wednesday that an autopsy found that Thitima had died from extreme alcohol intoxication. There had been speculation that Thitima was given a date rape drug such as GHB. But the drug rapidly disappears from the blood stream, making its presence difficult to confirm. Police are investigating others who may be involved in the affair, especially the owner and guests at the house where Thitima attended the party before she died.
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By Michael Kaplan. Grimy, neon-splashed Walking Street, populated largely by young hookers and pie-eyed Western men, is the main attraction of a Thai beach town called Pattaya. Some people may have been surprised by the outrageousness of it all. Ten years ago I visited Thailand to do a story on the commercial sex trade there. By all accounts, nothing has changed. Small stages inside teem with nude or bikini-clad women who are there for the taking — so much so that they have numbers pinned to their skimpy tops or G-string bottoms.
THE road to Bangkok's party district is paved with bad intentions. Happy-headed Western tourists are drenched in sweat and soaked in booze. Garish neon lights and flashing signs lead them towards bars and brothels.