Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2010 / The Trade in Human Beings for Sex in Southeast Asia.
Mainland Southeast Asia, or Indochina—as it has long been known due to its position between India and China—has been marked by decades of modern trafficking in illegal goods. Illegal trades in Mainland Southeast Asia are numerous, extremely diverse, and most likely increasingly complex. Of course, human trafficking and drug trafficking are two of the most prominent illegal trades of the area: human trafficking, in relation to the huge regional prostitution market it feeds—Thailand being worldwide infamous for that reason; and drug trafficking, in relation to opium and heroin produced in bulk in the ill-famed Golden Triangle. Complexity arises from the fact that human trafficking and drug trafficking can be said to be linked in some places and to some extent, whether drug consumption by prostitutes—and by many of their clients—is concerned or whether economic havoc created by excessively brutal and rapid eradication of illicit crops pushes women into prostitution. However, as we will see, complexity is even increased by the fact that many other illegal trades feed off these two major trafficking activities and their existing, and sometimes congruous, networks. Some of these trades may, at some point, contribute to one another; they may also proceed, to some extent, from propitious specific regional dynamics (trafficking in drugs and arms in the context of armed conflicts for example). It is this great diversity and complexity of illegal trading of Mainland Southeast Asia that this paper deals with, focusing on two of its most pervasive phenomenon: drug trafficking and human trafficking.