Gold Rush Abroad

The Trajectory of Singapore-Based Thai Transsexual (Male to Female) Sex Workers in Global Sex Tourism


  • Witchayanee Ocha Rangsit University, Thailand



Agents, Sex Tourism, Sex Workers, Singapore, Thai Transsexuals


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.

Author Biography

Witchayanee Ocha, Rangsit University, Thailand

Witchayanee Ocha is an Assistant Professor at The Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, School of Politics, Economics and Globalization, Rangsit University, Thailand. She has completed her Ph.D. in Gender and Development Studies at The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). She has been researching gender, globalization, and International Development Paradigms. She has experience and skills in conducting qualitative research in the area of human rights movement with marginalized communities in Asia and Europe.


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How to Cite

Ocha, W. (2020). Gold Rush Abroad: The Trajectory of Singapore-Based Thai Transsexual (Male to Female) Sex Workers in Global Sex Tourism. Advances in Southeast Asian Studies, 13(1), 123–141.



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