Women are one of Thailand’s most noticeable “exports” to Switzerland. Walk through any large city – and even many smaller towns – and you will notice many Asian faces, mostly women, many from Thailand. Some have come as wives to comfort and care for their Swiss husbands, but even more, it seems are here to offer professional comfort and care to a broader clientage, as entertainment providers in bars and brothels – dancing, singing and selling their bodies for hard Swiss francs.
What is it that draws them to Switzerland? Certainly not the food, which must seem bland to them compared to the spicy tastes their homeland is famous for. Nor can it be the local men, as the average balding mid-forties punter is barely more exciting than Switzerland’s cheesy cuisine. And sadly not even the beauty of Swiss nature, its majestic mountains and fresh alpine air, as most of these women work in cities, where the urban buzz is far removed from the picture postcard country that tourists love to admire.
The sad truth is that many of these women see Switzerland as a place for easy money, just as Swiss men see them as a place for easy sex.
Indeed, their popularity among Swiss men is much easier to explain: While they may not be the greatest beauties in Asia, their exotic looks make Thai women naturally attractive for local Europeans and their Asian features make them seem younger and more feminine that their local counterparts, sometimes almost doll-like. And for those who prefer the best of both sexes, no European transsexual (or lady) can mach the seductive femininity of an authentic Thai kathoey. Certainly the increasing number of Thai ladyboys advertising on Swiss sex sites shows a clear demand for their services.
The online sex directory and6 dot ch shows over 50 ladies and ladyboys for Thailand offering their bodies for sale in Switzerland for a variety of pleasure, from a „traditional soapy massage“ to „girlfriend sex“ and even sadomasochistic torture. Overall, however, Thai Dominatrices are rare, compared to their vanilla counterparts, who seem keen to market themselves based on the traditional stereotype of the submissive, ever-smiling Asian girl who never tires of pleasing her man in any way she can.
Yes, the growing number of Thai faces certainly adds colour and beauty to the Swiss street. But the stereotypes that sex workers give to Thai women in general are hard to break down. How many men see beyond the meat of their pleasure to see the person behind the prostitute or dancer, how many ever try to explore not just her body but also her personality and cultural heritage. Whether we accept or disapprove of prostitution, there is a story behind every women. A story of seeking a better life, even at such a heavy price. And this at least should be recognized and respected. These women are more than a commodity, and their children are part of this country’s future.
As the Thai community grows in size and confidence, their culture has become more clear and appreciated. Thailand is no longer just the land of sex but also the land of spice, as the increasing number of Thai restaurants shows, that have sprung up in every city and even in many small towns. Thai shops, originally set up to offer the women with a taste of home are now increasingly frequented by Swiss men and women seeking to improve their Asian cooking skills. And there is no better example for the strength of Thai tradition and culture in Switzerland than the Wat Srinagarindravararam, a majestic Buddhist monastery that glistens golden over the vilage of Gretzenbach.