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Experts warn that the industry has been so tolerated that it is today deeply entrenched, and efforts at regulation should be attempted in lieu of total shutdown. Sudden restrictions, they claim, will likely move the industry underground, increasing risks like disease, fraud, and exploitation among both workers and patrons alike and could encourage human trafficking.
The Ayutthaya Kingdom thrived across Siam from — and at the time was the largest and wealthiest trading centre in the East. Its eminence as an international hub helped popularize a sex tourism trade very early on, as widespread prostitution was legal and taxed primarily through state-run brothels. Strict interpretation of Buddhist doctrine places women as lesser contributors to society, and culturally children are tasked with taking care of aging parents.
While this stigma has eased today, the pressure for women to achieve financial stability for themselves or their families helped normalize the industry over time. Then under pressure from the United Nations, the Thai government formally ruled prostitution illegal in through a policy later replaced by the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act of The workers are typically women hailing from rural areas of the country that moved to the city to find work, but with limited education and the absence of other credentials required in the increasingly globalized city, take what work they can get.
These districts boast well-known and often high-end establishments that are not the product of illegal trafficking or forced workers — their high public visibility greatly reduces such a presence, along with the watchful eye of the State, itself eager to avoid international backlash for such ethical violations.
The Safari Bar brings in wandering tourists with its blaring oldies classics from the likes of Elvis or The Beatles, while Thigh Bar is a tourist-friendly staple with some of the lower drink prices available. In the early s, Patpong introduced a popular night market. Angel Witch is known for its grandiose themed rock shows, and Billboard Agogo Bar features a high-energy atmosphere on its rotating dance floor and a Jacuzzi to boot, while Casanova is known to be a more relaxed hangout.