Underage, trafficking concerns in Pattaya nightlife scene

Pattaya’s vibrant nightlife scene is overshadowed by concerns of underage involvement and trafficking.

PATTAYA, Thailand – In the midst of Pattaya’s vibrant nightlife scene, concerns are surfacing about the involvement of underage individuals in the city’s bars. While Pattaya is renowned as a global hub for the night entertainment industry, recent revelations shed light on the complexities and challenges faced by the community.

A significant number of bar and beer bar businesses in Pattaya are owned by foreigners who exercise caution when it comes to engaging minors in their operations due to potential legal repercussions. As part of their diligence, foreign owners reportedly verify the identification of women seeking employment in their establishments.

The working dynamics within these establishments seem to operate on a voluntary basis, with women willingly participating in activities with customers. However, a notable aspect is the bar’s practice of taking a percentage of the women’s earnings, resembling a model reminiscent of human trafficking. This quasi-agency system depends on the willingness of foreign customers to pay for companionship, with women agreeing to deductions for the privilege of finding customers within the bar.

Foreign tourists, despite the industry’s controversial nature, often view these bars as trustworthy establishments. There’s a perception that the women working in beer bars exhibit good behaviour, do not engage in theft, and receive fair compensation without being deceived during payment transactions. The presence of foreign bar owners is seen as providing a layer of safety for women working in these establishments.

However, a concerning issue arises from cases where some women appear older than their actual age. Instances of underage individuals attempting to work in these establishments have been reported, with the use of fake IDs to deceive bar owners. While some claim that Pattaya is stringent about age verification, reports indicate that underage individuals have been found working in karaoke bars in other provinces.

This situation underscores the urgent need for intervention and scrutiny within Pattaya’s nightlife scene. Calls for providing alternative employment opportunities for underage individuals and implementing stringent measures for age verification and human trafficking prevention are gaining momentum. Collaboration with organizations specializing in combating human trafficking and exploitation is considered crucial. The community’s awareness and education on the matter are also deemed essential to address issues related to inappropriate sex work and human trafficking.