Yesterday, after receiving an onslaught of letters from Change.org readers, university professor Kenneth Ng voluntarily shut down the sex tourism website he ran. The local newspaper which reported the announcement specifically mentioned the Change.org petition, which informed the California State University Northridge President Dr. Jolene Koester about the connection between sex tourism and human trafficking in Thailand. Talk about making change! Congratulations on your victory, and thank you everyone who signed the petition.
The story broke a week or so ago that California State University Northridge professor Kenneth Ng was operating a website which baldly promoted the "Thailand Girl Scene," as he referred to the commercial sex industry there. The website was full of language degrading to both women and Thai nationals, including comparing Thai women to ants in an anthill. There were also blunt statements about poverty and desperation driving Thai women into prostitution. Yet despite knowing about the site and its contents, the university had failed to even ask Professor Ng to remove the website.
So over 200 Change.org readers stepped up to the plate and wrote to the university, telling them about the rampant forced prostitution, child prostitution, and human trafficking which takes place within the Thai sex industry. In response, Mr. Ng stated that he would remove the site (I checked, it's really gone) because it was having a deleterious affect on the university's reputation, a move for which the university praised him. Really, the result is a win-win-win situation: Professor Ng keeps his job, California State University Northridge keeps their reputation for supporting gender equality, and another nail is placed in the coffin of sex trafficking in Thailand.
A reduction in websites pushing sex tourists to Thailand can really have an impact on the sex industry there. Since sex trafficking is a demand-drive industry, few buyers looking for women or children means fewer traffickers willing to supply them. And that means, of course, fewer victims. Sadly, Mr. Ng's site was only one of many on the Internet. We still have a long way to go.
Thank you to all of you who wrote in. Thank you for seeing that people trapped in the commercial sex industry don't always have a platform to express their views, like Mr. Ng did or like you and I do. And thank you for being willing to stand up for justice.