Understanding the indefensible: reflections on fieldwork with child prostitutes in Thailand

Montgomery, Heather (2016). Understanding the indefensible: reflections on fieldwork with child prostitutes in Thailand. In: Allerton, Catherine ed. Children: Ethnographic Encounters. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 141–154.

URL: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/children-978147425818...

Abstract

Sompot

On Wednesday 20 April 1994, Sompot, and eight-year old boy who worked as a prostitute in the slum village in Thailand where I was conducting fieldwork for my PhD, came home to his mother after visiting a client. He was bleeding after the encounter but seemed in high spirits. The other children crowded around him and teased him, saying "Sompot's having a period - he's bleeding!" Sompot laughed and not one of the other children appeared to be shocked with what had happened to him, despite my horrified reactions. For the first time in the field (I had then been there around nine months) I lost my temper and hurled abuse at his mother. She looked at me blankly, as if I was being particularly stupid, and said, "It was just for one hour. What harm can happen to him in one hour?"

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