Gold Rush Abroad
The Trajectory of Singapore-Based Thai Transsexual (Male to Female) Sex Workers in Global Sex Tourism
Sex work is part of Thailand’s tourism-based economic development model. The country’s global reputation as a ‘queer paradise’ is an important factor shaping Thailand’s sex tourism and linking it to the global sex industry. This paper addresses transnational routes and networks of the global sex trade through Thai transsexual (male to female) sex workers who travel out of the country to Singapore for short periods to meet global demand. The research is based on in-depth interviews with 75 Thai transsexual sex workers who are working in districts such as Orchard Towers, Little India, and Geylang in Singapore. For some informants, Singapore is a final destination; for others, it is just a stop along the way to other places abroad. The findings show that the commercial sex trade involving these individuals is global in every sense, including the way it is funded, developed, structured, and organized.
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