260 Billion Baht: The price of Thai sex industry
One Bangkok-based news site attempted to figure out the value of the country’s sex trade. Their answer returned that it was very lucrative, with a staggering worth of about THB260 billion (US$8.1 billion), reported Sanook Money.
The site published the calculation in the wake of Friday’s raid on prostitution den Victoria’s Secret in Bangkok, where 113 women, mostly migrants, were found allegedly selling sexual services. Many of those women are believed to have been trafficked. That investigation is ongoing.
The calculations were based on numbers thrown out in 2007 by notorious former soapy massage boss Chuwit Kamolvisit, a public figure who has also hosted his own TV show, done a stint in prison, been a member of parliament, and referred to himself as a “super pimp” to the founder of Coconuts.
Chuwit’s estimation took into consideration the number of sex workers in the country, how much the average sex worker makes, and what percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was earned through the sex industry back in 2007.
Based on Chuwit’s estimations, the sex industry was worth THB163 billion (US$5 billion) a decade ago. He said that the top monetary producing establishments selling sex were Thai style massage houses, beer bars, soapy massage joints, karaoke places, and standard brothels, in that order.
He did a simple calculation to arrive at his estimation that THB163 billion was 2 percent of the GDP at that time.
Since the GDP for Thailand is now THB13 trillion, that is how Sanook arrived at the figure of THB260 billion — it’s 2 percent of THB13 trillion.