A big part of sex tourism is prostitution. This has been common in Thailand for centuries – back in the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351-1767), prostitution was documented. It was legal and taxable at the time, but it has been illegal since 1960.
Statistics on sex tourism in Thailand are hard to come by. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 2 million sex workers in the country. The global black market database Havocscope puts the number at the bottom of the scale, with an estimated $ 6.4 billion. But some polls and organizations put the figure very close to the figure of two million.
In any case, sex tourism in Thailand is a big deal. It is said that despite the staggering statistics, 60% of visitors are male – and 70% of these male tourists are sexually active. Because sex and prostitution were legal in Thailand until the early ’60s, they were popular. And just because there are laws now, the sex industry is something people still associate with the world; a vicious circle.