- Every day at least 450,000 Thai men visit brothels
- More than 75% of Thai men have visited prostitutes
- Half of Thai boys under 16 have been to a prostitute
Thailand is known to some as the sex capital of the world, and has one of the highest rates of sex tourism. Because of this, many attribute the sex industry solely to Westerners coming in and purchasing sex. However, as the above statistics show, Western men are not the main force driving Thailand’s sex industry. The damage done by Western sex tourists (although serious) is minimal when compared to that done by the Thai men on a daily basis, in their own country, against their own people. Sure, foreign tourists are still helping sustain one of the most lucrative crime industries through the millions of dollar they pump into Thailand’s sex tourist industry every year. But Thailand has an internal problem. There’s something seriously wrong when you’ve got half of boys under 16 in your country visiting prostitutes. This beautiful country that I love so much is destroying its young men and women from the inside out.
It’s obvious, right? To change the fruit, we have to change the roots. If there was a different mindset about sex, about justice, about dignity, then sex tourists probably wouldn’t even feel welcome in Thailand. To ultimately bring hope and justice, we must begin with the Thai churches and equip them to bring freedom to their own people.
HOPE61 is not about changing systems, it’s about changing hearts. It’s not about changing the culture, but about transforming the individual. It’s not about depriving desires, but about replacing what brings death with what brings life. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been conquered by a European power; I believe God wants to conquer Thailand’s heart, and draw its people to Himself. I want to be part of this. I want to help the Thai people recognize the beauty He has put in each individual, so that they will know that nobody should be for sale.
-Bethany Ury, HOPE61 missionary to Thailand