From the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers:

It has come to our attention that their is still continuing debate around the issue of the French Culture Minister,

Frédéric Mitterrand, and his admission that he paid for sex with male sex workers in Thailand. We have seen attacks on him from both the left and the right of French politics- attacks which we see as both homophobic and anti-sex worker.

Worse we see the racist, orientalist views of the elites on both sides of French politics who construct Thai sex workers as somehow “backward” and unable to choose what we do. In Thailand all male sex workers are referred to by the term “Nong” which means boy. We are not duped under age boys forced into “sexual slavery.” We are people in a poor country exercising our choices to live and earn money to support ourselves, our family and our country.

The money we earn and send home to the rural areas of Thailand is far larger than any international development programme and supports far more people.

Tourism to Thailand is our country’s second biggest industry- and people have sex on holidays. Are they meant to be celibate? Is it now unacceptable for Europeans to have sex with Asians in case they are exploiting us? If French politicians are so concerned about our exploitation they would do better to support labour laws for sex workers and to push the ILO to recognise sex work as work.

When and until the parties of the Left and the Right of French politics agree to substantially increase development aid to redistribute the wealth that France and other former colonial countries stole from the developing world, we would appreciate it if you keep sending us your tourists so that we can show them a good time and get some of your hard won cash.