Pattaya’s sex tourism has created headlines again. This time the Danish morning paper Jyllands-Posten is running a front cover story on Sunday 5. July with the headline ‘Danish pimps are selling sex in Thailand’.
In the article the journalists have been visiting the holiday spot Pattaya-Jomtien north of Bangkok and describe how at least 19 bars are run by Danish men. Those men don’t just sell beers but earn money by selling Thai prostitutes to Western men, even though prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Especially, the sex trade should be taking place around the crowd around the ’Danish Street’ in Jomtien where Danish places like Hotel Danmark and Danish restaurants are placed. According to JP, around this street there are seven brothels all run by Danes. Brothels where the girls work up til 12 hours a day, mainly to serve Danish sex tourists who are living in Danish places like Hotel Danmark.
They are joy girls
Danish Peter Mørk is the owner of the bar Bryggeriet in Pattaya. He is telling about his business to the newspaper JP.
”We call them ‘joy girls’ (glædespiger, red). They are here to entertain our customers and serve them. In the low season we have seven to eight girls and in the peak season we double the number,” says Peter Mørk.
He explains that there are 100 customers on average who are paying for his girls. The procedure is exactly like in every other bar with this kind of bar girls in Thailand:
“You pay a 300 baht fee to the bar and then you are allowed to take the lady out and go to a club, the cinema or what else you fancy. Then you usually end up going home to spoon or what else you want to do,” Peter Mørk says.
A number of times a customer has fallen in love with one of Peter’s bar girls. There is also a solution to that situation:
”To actually take a lady from the bar and make her your girlfriend or take her back to Denmark, you have to pay 5000 baht. It has happened 6-7 times this year that the ladies have ’been paid out’, as we say.
They are happy
In Peter Mørk’s bar Bryggeriet the bar girls get paid a basic salary of 600 Dkr per month plus free board and lodging. The rest of their salary comes from tips and other ‘services’ to the Danish customers. However, Peter Mørk can’t see any problem with that.
“The girls are smiling. I can see it for myself. They are always happy and satisfied. There are no ladies here in Pattaya or other places who are working against their own free will. It is my belief and I have also spent a lot of time in Phuket,” he says.
He purely denies that his ‘joy girls’ have anything to do with prostitution.
“I can say it in brief. This is not prostitution because prostitution is not legal in Thailand. That is basically it,” Peter Mørk says.
Better for the girls
Not only in the Danish street of Jomtien but also online there are Danish reactions to the article in Jyllands-Posten. On the Danish-Thai webpage http://www.dansk-thai.dk/ no one really seems to have a problem with Danes earning money on the sex-girls in Pattaya.
”Come on!! They better send all the girls home and close the bars and basically remove 80 per cent of all tourists” as Cabbie ironically states.
Another Dane supports him:
”Now when a newspaper has nothing better to write about it can always find a story which will make the Danish people shake their heads. But who gives a f…. if it’s a Danish person who is earning a bit extra money or a Thai. I actually think that it is best for the girls that the bars are not controlled by Thais but Danes,” as another one writes on the webpage.
Illegal and reprehensible
One person who certainly does not agree with the Danish comments is the Director General of the Department of Justice in Thailand. To JP he says:
”It is against the Thai law and it is reprehensible. The bars are also functioning as brothels where the Danish pimps are exploiting the poverty of the women and the lack of resources from the police,” says Wanchai Roujanavong.
He points out that it is very hard to arrest the Danish pimps for earning on prostitution. Both because the police do not see it as a big problem compared to sex tourism involving children, and also because the Danish pimps are not stupid and use their Thai wives to sign the bar contracts:
”The Danish owner can claim that his wife is behind the whole thing, and then the police will not charge the Thai wife because she is not the guilty one. Other times the Danish owner will claim that it is not his business if a prostitute leaves with a customer but a private matter between the couple, even though he gets his share out of it,” Wanchai Roujanavong explains to JP.
Also read on ScandAsia the reaction from the owner of Hotel Danmark: Drunken Rubbish!