SEXED-up tourists are continuing to flock to Thailand’s Sin City despite a crackdown to clean up its notoriously seedy image.
Pattaya has been branded the sex capital of the world with tens of thousands of Westerners heading to the resort every month looking for cheap thrills.
However, Thai tourism chiefs have long vowed to clean up the city by transforming it into a family-friendly ‘Happy Zone’.
Over the past two years they have coordinated a string of high-profile police raids on sex dens and clubs in the resort.
Tourists have also been arrested if caught having sex with local prostitutes or each other on Pattaya’s beaches.
“I want people to see that we are not like what they say. We are not allowing prostitution in these entertainment places,” governor Pakkaratorn Teianchai said last year.
MORE THAN 1,000 BARS AND MASSAGE PARLOURS
However, one year on, reports from Pattaya reveal little seems to have changed.
The Daily Star Sunday reveals hotel occupancy levels in its hotels were at nearly 100 per cent over the new year period.
Many of the guests were in Thailand to experience the beautiful country’s seedier side.
More than a million men flock to its red light district each year and almost 20 per cent of the population are employed in the sex trade.
Sex is central to the city’s economy, with more than 1,000 bars and massage parlours, many acting as fronts for brothels.
Sex tourism began in Pattaya when it became an R&R spot for US soldiers during the Vietnam War, though prostitution is just as evident in parts of nearby Bangkok and other resorts.
The number of female sex workers in Thailand was put at more than 120,000 in a 2014 United Nations Aids report.
Some estimates run to double that and not all the women who get paid for sex are full-time prostitutes.
Given a 305 baht (£7) a day minimum wage, the chance of earning several times more is an obvious lure, particularly in poorer rural regions.
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