“In this tourist heaven, it isn’t the exquisite countryside that makes the headlines, but the sex trade, and the galanf that come to exploit it. An estimated 800,000 women work in the nightlife industry”. That is the opening statement of Bangkok Girl documentary, a documentary about Thailand and the stereotypes about sex trade in the country.
In the past few years, Thailand has become a popular destination for tourists because of the beautiful countryside, rich history and tradition, as well as Thai massage. But director of the movie, Jordan Clark, argues that little has been done to change the narrative, and protect girls like Pla, the main protagonist of the documentary. The industry, even worse, is encouraged as a career option for marginalized women.
The documentary was filmed in 2002, after director Jordan Clark and Pla met, and they clicked instantly. At the time, Pla was a 19-year old girl. The movie was released in 2005, and it still carries weight.
Pla, a 19-year girl that worked in a bar refused to join the narrative and become a sex trade woman.
The best way to describe the documentary is an “unbashed look at the popular Western predilection through the eyes of one girl, a honest, transparent and gripping documentary that stares directly into the eyes of every person who has ever visited Thailand”. For all those participating in the sex industry, the documentary challenges their humanity and questions their morality.