Thailand tourism officials cracking down on domestic sex industry

Officials are cracking down on Thailand's notorious sex tourism industry.

Officials are cracking down on Thailand's notorious sex tourism industry.  (iStock)

Thailand’s tourism minister and police are working to eradicate the country’s well-known sex industry, Reuters reported. 

Police officers have raided some of Bangkok’s largest brothels over the past few weeks, Reuters said.

Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told Reuters that people do not travel to Thailand for the sex industry.

"They come here for our beautiful culture," she told Reuters. "We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the sex industry gone."

Although Thailand is mostly a conservative, Buddhist nation, its sex industry is widespread, serving mostly Thai men, the news service said. Prostitution is illegal in the country, but the law is mostly ignored.

According to Reuters, the country expects a record number of tourists in 2016. The beaches, temples, go-go bars and massage parlours of Thailand are all popular among tourists.

Proponents of the sex industry in Thailand told Reuters that it is unrealistic to think the country will ever be rid of prostitution.

Her push comes amid an attempt by the country's tourism authorities to transform Thailand into a luxury destination to attract moneyed tourists.

As the Thailand director of the Christian nonprofit organization NightLight, which works to get women out of prostitution, Panomporn Utaisri told Reuters that the government doesn’t want to admit that prostitution contributes to the economy and tourism.

"There's no denying this industry generates a lot of income," Panomporn told the news agency.