Can Prostitutes Marry? Thai Attitudes Toward Female Sex Workers
This study explores popular attitudes towards female sex workers in Thailand by examining the general public's perceptions of a prostitute's ability to marry based on focus group data. The tentative conclusion emerging from our findings that the general public believes sex workers can marry is that a relative lack of severe or lasting social stigma is an important part of a Thai context that facilitates recruitment into prostitution and permits it to persist on a widespread scale. We interpret this conclusion in terms of the broader value system in Thai society. Although our findings are implicitly comparative in nature, a lack of comparable information from other countries on how those who provide commercial sex are viewed by the general population prevents a more definitive conclusion. There is an obvious need for research on this topic as well as on how sex workers view themselves, and how this translates into actual behavior.