Heather Montgomery presents a broad dimension of child-centered anthropological research in association with problems of practices and ethical dilemmas as a researcher while working with the most vulnerable children of the Thailand society. The author supplies an in-depth analysis of various dimensions of child prostitution in ‘ Baan Nua’ a slum community of Thailand. Some of the areas explored include economical and social problems as also psychological problems of a migrant community from rural Thai, problems of slum dwellers, and its rhythm of life. “In Thailand, a thriving sex industry makes its money exploiting the young. Some children are coerced into prostitution and some have been sold into sexual slavery by their own families, but, just as tragically, there is no shortage of young girls (and boys) willing to work as prostitutes.” (Sorajjkool, 2007).
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So the topic is very relevant. The author’s enthusiasm for the topic is obvious through the work. Starting with the unnamed NGO that is working with the most vulnerable children of Thai society, the author shows the detailed picture of ‘Baan Nua’, an urban slum, and its rhythm of day-to-day life. She explains different forms of child abuse and their impact on the society of Thai. The majority of the household of the Baan Nua community is possessing very low incomes or have no work. As a result of this phenomenon majority of the third and fourth-generation children are engaged in prostitution work to sustain their families. The author says that without being conscious of their limited right and social and psychological impact on them, they are obligated to enter into this lucrative business for the survival of their family. The researcher also draws a picture of a society where only a few social organizations are there to take care of the needs of the marginalized section of the society.
It gives an insight into both Governmental Organizations (GOs) and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to redefine their roles and responsibility especially in the tourism industry to protect the moral rights and welfare of their informed citizen. Today’s global privatized world tourism is emerging as the one of the lucrative businesses along with its negative impact on the society and also Thailand is named as 3rd in the sex tourism industry. (Country in focus: Thailand, 2007). In the context of this threat , this work would have wider socio- political impacts on the world. This research work also examines the ill-effect of child prostitution and its in-depth roots. One negative aspect is that Montgomery almost seems to justify a child’s decision to become a prostitute. The following sentence in her work is indicative of the fact. “This enabled them to see themselves, not as prostitutes, but rather as dutiful daughters and sons undertaking socially approved roles of support.” (Problems of access and interpretation, 2007, p. 419).
This academic research work is an excellent source to students, educators, and child centered anthropologists.. This work also describes the everyday life of anthropologist in the field such as the entry point to a community, rapport with clients, ethical dimensions and limitations of researcher in this field. It raises several questions on the ethics of a researcher especially working with these kinds of social problems also. Many times the researcher himself/herself needs to limit his or her freedom as a researcher rather than a human being. But like other researchers, Heather Montgomery is not giving satisfactory explanation to solve these kinds of dilemma. Many times, author tries to justify the prostitution profession with stories rather than formulating solution to this social evil.
As an academic research work it contributes to the child centered anthropological research in a fruitful way in its content and subject knowledge. The researcher has adopted very apt methodology for data collection. The storytelling methods and case studies have been presented in its perfection to expose the gravity of the problem. A writing style that can be labeled as emotive writing to evoke feelings in readers is seen occasionally. “In any academic writing, if you use emotive words you must be able to justify them. It is not ‘academic’ to make judgments without justification.” (Development level advice, 2004). The author does justice to the above statement in the article. This study is not merely an academic research but it will help anthropologist researchers and social policy makers to deal effectively with problems related to children; like when the author remarks that Thai Government is lacking in baseline data about the child prostitutes in their land. Hence it will act as a basic data for further studies in this line.
This work promotes very vast scope in the area of child centered anthropologist work in coming years. It will serve as a baseline data for further studies in the negative impact of child centered prostitution. This work will also help policy makers to plan and implement more mitigation measure as well as programs for the welfare of the society. So this study will explore the possibility of intervention by social institutions especially ,NGOs to act as a mediator for the wellbeing of the community.
Country in focus: Thailand. (2008). Fire Earth: Environmental Issues [Filtered, Stifled & Blocked by Google]. Web.
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Development level advice: The effect your words create-the choice you can make: Example. (2004). Writing for university Courses-Use of Words. Web.
Problems of access and interpretation: Heather Montgomery: Working With Child Prostitutes in Thailand: Problems of practice and interpretation. (2007). Sage. 419. (Provided by student).
Sorajjkool, Siroj. (2007). Child prostitution in Thailand: Listening to Rahab: What can be learn from the tragedy of these exploited young people. Routledge Taylor & Francis group. Web.