Other women, the brave ones, she said, recovered the bodies from the beach, a gruesome but urgent job.
They set their own price for sex and keep all of the money that customers pay them.Many sex workers in Phuket come from the impoverished north and are often known only by their nicknames and their home province.Mam remembers the police coming to her bar and holding up photos of women’s corpses for her and the others to identify in the days after the tsunami.PHUKET ISLAND, Thailand (WOMENSENEWS)–The high season is in full swing in Phuket Island’s beach towns and tourism is starting to pick up again, a year after the Asian tsunami killed 5,395 people in Thailand, according to government figures, and left around 700 others officially missing.In downtown Patong, disco lights flash and music booms onto the streets from row upon row of open-air bars.
Clusters of women wait around for their evening customers, looking bored.
These days, no one wants to talk much about the tsunami, which claimed 200,000 lives in 12 countries and displaced 2 million others.
But an undercurrent of sadness runs just below the surface.
It is quickly felt by talking to a woman called Mam, who, like all the sex workers interviewed for this article, asked that only her nickname be used.
Mam had only just started her new job at a Patong bar when the tsunami waves washed over Thailand’s Andaman Sea coast.
Before she knew it, she found herself clearing wreckage from the beach and restoring order to the bar where she worked so it could reopen within days.