|Pattaya - the Thai city of sin?|
|Prostitutes waiting for business in a bar|
In the lonely planet guide is starts it description of the city like this
“Synonymous with prostitution, Pattaya is unapologetic about its bread-and-butter industry.”
The Tamar center reaches out to help the women and children who find themselves working in the tourist sex industry. The center runs a number of projects including doing outreach to the girls based in the bars and the girls working from the main beach front. A regular service they provide is free English language courses.
|Kerry and Namwaan the team training leader|
|IT skills base|
|Coffee shop kitchen|
|The lovely coffee shop - VERY good pancakes!|
They run training and employment to help the women earn money outside of prostitution. This work includes card making, hairdressing, bakery, restaurant skills, IT skills and life skills. The cards are fantastic and you can buy them online here. The coffee shop they run is excellent. I would recommend the cheesecake.
|Amazing hand made cards for sale|
|The Card making hub|
|Some of the girls in the training|
Everything is centered on helping girls find dignity hope and a future.
The project runs a hair salon on a major bar street and many of the working girls come to get their hair styled. The salon provides a very gentle introduction to the team and is staffed by women who used to work as prostitutes but have gone through the training Tamer provides.
|The hair salon in the outreach centre|
|Some of the outreach team|
|Dozens of bars line the streets with thousands of girls in the city ready to sell their body to foreigners|
Kerry took us on a little tour of the town and we were both shocked with how blatant the prostitution was. Even though prostitution is illegal in Thailand there is no attempt to hide the work. It is everywhere in the city; from bars, clubs, massage parlors and girls on the street. It creates a very odd atmosphere and not a pleasant one. Whilst it has been nice to visit the local Starbucks, enjoy some home comforts (Kerry took us to a cafe for a British fry up!!!!) and it has been great to visit Kerry, we are glad that it is a short trip as we would not want to holiday here.
|Michelle and Kerry relaxing in the counselling room used to help girls start dealing with some of their issues.|
We have only told you a tiny amount. The team is also involved in preventative work in the poorer villages that most of the girls come from. The team also helps girls who want to return to their villages. Kerry and the team are doing an amazing job in this city and greater things are yet to come!
Also in Pattaya we had the opportunity to go with Kerry and her very funny friend Gemma out of the city and on a boat trip to some local islands, we will get some pictures of that fun trip up later. We are now heading down to the south of Thailand to learn to dive and relax before heading home in a few weeks. We are going to Phuket via a flight to Kuala Lumpa. As we need to extend of Visa and it is easier to fly in and out of the country than to deal with the Visa authorities.