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Flooding The Market - Over 1 Million Sex Trade Workers Displaced By Thailand's Floods

Updated on November 10, 2011

October 2011, Flooding in Central Thailand has crippled the nation's capital of Bangkok, forcing the closure of Don Muang, the city's Domestic Airport and causing damage to residential and business districts throughout Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. The floods have displaced millions of people, including an estimated 1 million sex trade workers, as well as tragically claiming the lives of more than 300. Bangkok's central business district has been spared, however with international embassies advising citizens to avoid travel to Bangkok, the ladies of Bangkok's legendary red light districts find themselves without any potential customers.

This has forced many to temporarily relocate to Pattaya and Phuket, much to the disapproval of the working girls that have already been employed at go go bars and beer bars in places like Pattaya's Walking Street, and Patong's Bangla Road, on the island of Phuket. You won't get any complaints from the male tourists that flock to Phuket and Pattaya year after year, speaking to one tourist in Phuket, he commented "I feel like a kid in a candy store". The apparent "flooding of the market", has resulted in stiff competition among the many girls looking to find male suitors, resulting in some cases of violent clashes between local working girls and those who have come from Bangkok to ply their trade.

With no end to the floods in sight, it is expected that Bangkok will not be back to normal for at least another month, and perhaps not until after Christmas. During this time the legendary nightlife districts of Pattaya and Phuket will continue to be far more crowded than usual, with the addition of hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Bangkok, looking for wealth and prosperity in the South. Tourists in Phuket have reported that not only is Patong Beach and Bangla Road teaming with hoards of new freelance bar girls, but there are also many spilling out into the quieter areas of Chalong, Nai Harn and Rawai.

The people of Thailand are not easily shaken, whether they work as food vendors, construction workers, taxi drivers or sex trade workers, they will always find a way to get back to what they do best. They will find way to ply their trade, no matter what challenges nature will throw at them. This is a theme that is clearly on display throughout the country, with vendors standing in knee deep water selling their noodles, bar girls in Chiang Mai dancing on tables when the bar is covered in a foot of water, and Bangkok's working girls traveling south to Pattaya and Phuket, showing that when the going gets tough, the tough get going .


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    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

      I wondered about that. The girls I know headed home to try and save the rice crops. It has been a very hard time for all.