Monday, October 20, 2008

Thai women in parlours


The Red Thread published a new report:

Een vergeten groep of Thaise vrouwen in (erotische) salons in Nederland (De Rode Draad, October 2008) [a forgotten group of Thai women in (erotic) parlours in the Netherlands]

The report doesn’t really contain much new information compared to earlier Red Thread reports (read for instance my earlier post about Thai prostitutes).

According to the Red Thread there are some 400 Thai prostitutes in the Netherlands working in Thai massage parlours. Often they are older women who reside legally in the Netherlands. Often they seem to be the remnants of an earlier wave of human trafficking from Thailand during the seventies and eighties, at which time the victims were much younger. They hardly speak Dutch.
The Red Thread has a list of some 150 businesses of which they visited 63. There’s a very big turnover of massage parlours. Many businesses stop operating very quickly while at the same time new businesses are opened.
There are some good Thai massage parlours where the women are treated well but many others are not so good. The women work long days (like 78 hours a week) and seem to have a limited freedom of movement. They often sleep in the brothels and often spend time with girlfriends and colleagues in other massage parlours. Not many clients visit these brothels, often some two or three clients a day. The women don’t make a lot of money, often some three to five euros per hour.
Much to the surprise of the Red Thread it turned out there was a drugs problem among the Thai prostitutes. One type of drugs used was ‘ya ba’, or methylamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. It is 9 times stronger than speed.
There’s also a gambling problem among the prostitutes.
The labour relations are often not good. Often the women are supposed to be working in wage labour, but the full rights associated with this type of labour are not granted. Others are supposed to be working under the ‘opting in’-system where the woman works more or less as an independent contractor, but in this system the taxes are dealt with by the boss. Also here the rights of the women are violated.
There are also traditional Thai massage parlours which only seem to do massage. Also women visit these massage parlours. But some workers secretly also offer sex (often hand jobs). In one parlour the workers prefer men over women because the traditional massages are very intensive, and it’s a lot less hard work to erotically massage a man than to traditionally massage a woman. The extra money is for the worker.

The last thing about the prostitutes preferring sex work over ‘normal’ work really surprises me! This is another indication that working in prostitution is not so emotionally troubling at all! Perhaps Ine Vanwesenbeeck is right after all. (or maybe it is that just all wage labour is like prostitution, and that means that Marx is right after all......)

For Ine Vanwesenbeeck look on the website of
Is prostitution psychologically harmful to prostitutes?

For Karl Marx look on the website of :
Private Property and Communism


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