Buying Innocence: Child-sex tourists in Thailand

Montgomery, Heather (2008). Buying Innocence: Child-sex tourists in Thailand. Third World Quarterly, 29(5) pp. 903–917.



Based on ethnographic work in a small community in Thailand, this article looks at different categories of sex tourists, analysing what particular qualities they find attractive in Thai children and women. It will argue that the boundaries between tourists who have sex with children, and those who have sex with adults, are extremely permeable and that there may not always be a distinct difference between the two categories of men. Child-sex tourism does not occur in a vacuum and cannot be separated from more general social, economic and cultural concerns, which are often overlooked in analyses. There is a premium on youth among many clients of Thai prostitutes and the actual age of the child is usually irrelevant to all but a small minority of abusers. Instead a situation has developed in which women are infantilised while children are seen as precociously adult, and the distinctions between child and adult and innocence and experience are deliberately blurred.

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