The coronavirus pandemic has done what Pattaya police have never been able to do: Clear prostitutes off Pattaya Beach.
Decades of periodically rounding up and fining streetwalkers never did anything to cut the number of sex workers trawling the beachfront for johns. But the fear of Covid-19 and the recession that stemmed from the country’s clampdown on the virus has done the job, leaving Pattaya’s fabled “Coconut Bar” nearly empty.
Public-safety volunteers confirmed the eye test of those walking the beach at night: There are scattered women and transvestites loitering, but nowhere near the number of groups of men and women soliciting sex as before Thailand’s lockdown.
Beach vendors said many of the sex workers have left Pattaya and returned to their hometowns because there simply aren’t enough foreigners to earn a living and Thai tourists aren’t interested.
The result has been a safer beach, with far fewer reports of pickpocketing by transvestites. However, it also has opened the beach to more homeless people who feel safer living on the shoreline.
Pattaya Deputy Mayor Banlue Kullavanijaya toured the beach on Sept. 1 and talked with many of the vagrants and had city social workers send them to the Chonburi Protection Center for The Destitute.