Child prostitution as filial duty? The morality of child-rearing in a slum community in Thailand

Montgomery, Heather (2014). Child prostitution as filial duty? The morality of child-rearing in a slum community in Thailand. Journal of Moral Education, 43(2) pp. 169–182.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240.2014.893420

Abstract

It has been claimed that there are universal goals of child-rearing, such as survival of the child or the promotion of their capacity to contribute to economic and social reproduction. Yet in certain circumstances parents appear to pursue child-rearing practices that actively harm children, threaten their survival and inhibit their ability to grow up to be effective adult members of their communities. This article will discuss these issues in the case of one group of child prostitutes in Thailand and their families at a particular point in time. Although the work they did was physically dangerous and difficult, both parents and children claimed that their families were loving and functional and that selling sex was a way to keep the family together. Morality was seen in terms of reciprocity rather than sexual transgression and this article will explore the morality of child-rearing in this context and the relationships between family members.

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