In Bangkok, “sideline” girls or “freelancers” are students, or women with day jobs, who aren’t opposed to occasionally being paid for sex when they have overdue bills or the new iPhone comes out.
Recently, a former sideline girl, who says she has given up the sex work that generated her THB500,000 a month, shared her story on the popular Thai forum Pantip with the title, “Sideline Girl Repents.”
In her story, she reveals that a friend taught her to do this work when she needed quick cash to pay back a debt. Seeing how easy it was, she got hooked (pardon the pun) and continued selling sex for money through college.
“I thought I was going to quit after graduation and find a nice office job, but I continued being a sideline girl because I could make a lot of money. I admitted that money was God to me.”
The former sideline girl said she didn’t always have sex with customers. Some men simply enjoyed her company, and the bar she worked for increased her pay when she became more popular among customers.
“I took that money to get plastic surgery. Then I looked better, and I could ask for better pay. I got to the point where I was paid THB7,000 per customer — the highest rate from the bar. If I worked hard, I could make THB500,000 per month.”
She spent six years prostituting herself and then, much like a movie plot, her life changed when a customer became a boyfriend. Now, she said, she works in an office and feels better about herself.
“Other people can do it, so why can’t I? I changed everything. From a luxury home, I now rent a small condo. I got a new job and it’s been years since I left the business.”
She gave a warning to other girls considering turning sideline tricks for quick bucks: “Please change your mind. Don’t get into this business. All the temptations and evil thoughts are waiting for you: booze, drugs, men, partying, and shopping for brand-name stuff.”
“You will have everything I just said, but you won’t have self-worth, love or a future.”
Nathee Sorawaree, secretary to Issarachon Foundation, an organization that helps underprivileged people, stated that the number of young women entering the sex business has increased by 30 to 40 percent. That organization cites the tough economic conditions of the country and that women can’t make enough to live on or to send to their families.
Nathee also noted that the girls offering sex services online are getting younger and younger. He said that the girls are either trying to support their struggling families or simply looking for extra cash to buy luxury items they can’t afford with their salaries.
Many Thai posters to Pantip thought the “Sideline Girl” was brave to come forward and warn others.
However, as the story was translated and shared in English-language media, commenters expressed disbelief that the “Sideline Girl,” or others like her, would ever truly get out of the sideline game until they are too old to continue.
One user commented, in the Facebook group Everything Bangkok, about a wall that sideline girls eventually hit in their lives due to their side work and lifestyle.
“They neglect their career in favor of the easy money offered by their hooker job, they develop expensive tastes and habits and live a life of excess that will see them age prematurely.”
“By the time they hit their early 30s, they look old as hell, they have had very average careers (as in, they haven’t advanced) or they’re simply not working and have high expectations with very little in the way of assets (as in looks, money, skill).”
“For these girls, it can often (but not always) be a downward slope from the first time they exchange cash for sex.”