by Noel Yeatts
I’m writing this from Thailand, a country known for its vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and white, sandy beaches. But I’m not here on vacation.
Over the past few years, I have traveled to Thailand to force myself out of my comfort zone. I come here to remind myself that, while much has been accomplished to fight sexual harassment and violence in America, there’s still much work to be done. Countless women across the world are crying “me, too” — and few are listening.
That’s the case with Thailand’s thriving sex industry in Bangkok and other tourist centers. In Pattaya alone, an estimated 50,000 sex workers roam the city’s red-light districts every night. These young women line the roads, dancing or calling out to customers. They sacrifice their bodies, their health and their dignity because they think it’s the only way they can earn a living.
The world calls them prostitutes, but I think that’s an oversimplification. They’re really victims of a complex form of cultural slavery.