There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). The country's commercial sex industry remains vast, increasing vulnerabilities for sex trafficking. Children are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlours, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels and private residences.
In early 2013, Mai was contacted by a woman in the city who bought her gifts and offered her a job.
My name is Mai and I am in grade 8. I like to study Thai, Chinese, English and social studies. When I grow up I want to be a nurse. If I become a nurse then when I grow up, I can help people. I think my mom is very proud of me. When I get home, my sister and I help her with the dishes and housework.
My dad was a drug addict. My mom said to him, “You have to choose between drugs and your daughters. If you want your daughters, go to rehab. If you choose drugs then you have to leave.” He didn’t say anything. The next day, he packed his bag and moved to the city. Now he works as a driver and does construction work in Bangkok. He’s remarried now, but he’s still my dad.
The first time someone asked me to work she said, “This job makes a lot of money but you have to sacrifice something for it.” She said if you work for the first time, if you’re still a virgin, they will pay $1,000. She said, “You know what I do for a living, right? When I was younger I was doing the same thing. I take girls and sell them, but I am only asking them to do what I used to do.” She is a madame. She tricks other girls in the village and sells them. At first, I didn’t think she wanted anything. But later on I thought that maybe she wanted to take me to sell me to be a prostitute. So I told her I didn’t want that job. When I joined The Sold Project they taught us a out the risks of prostitution and how it’s not good, so I said no.
I hope this story only happens to me, and that my friends don’t fall into this just because they want material things. I think that my life is not over yet. I only have one life so I’m going to live it to the fullest. What has already passed an what is bad that came into my life I will let it go. I’m not going to think about the past and will do my best for today.
Narrative and image provided by The Freedom Story