BANGKOK:– Thailand’s infamous sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister pushing to rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks on some of the largest establishments providing sex services in Bangkok.
Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy that has struggled to recover after political turmoil took the country to the brink of recession in 2014.
Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and deeply conservative, but is home to an extensive sex industry, largely catering to Thai men. Hordes of tourists also flock to the bright lights of go-go bars and massage parlours in Bangkok and main tourist towns.
Thailand’s beaches and temples have been the poster child for Asian tourism for decades and the country expects a record number of arrivals in 2016.
Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors.
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