Montri slams survey, says it could lead to more underage sex
Samut Songkhram Senator Montri Sintawichai yesterday slammed the Public Health Ministry for publicising sexual behaviour and prostitution among youths, saying information on prostitution should be handed to police and the survey questions may violate the youth's rights.
Montri, secretary of the Foundation for the Protection of Children, questioned the credibility of information presented by the ministry on Monday – that 35 per cent of the interviewed teens earned extra money from prostitution and some used mini-vans as places for sex to avoid being caught.
“How could that happen?” Montri said.
“Did none of the thousands of people on the roads see something suspicious?”
He said that, if the information was true, it should be given to police because buying sex from anyone under 18 was illegal.
Montri also slammed the youth sex surveys, saying it seemed like peeping at teens’ behaviour then talking behind their backs via surveys, which have become popular prior to festivals.
“It’s almost certain that, after this survey’s revelations, seminars by related agencies will follow, which is almost like a formula to spend the government’s budget,” he said.
“The survey organisers and the agencies are those who are benefiting here. They do not really intend to solve teenage problems.”
Judging from the information, the questions might also violate youths’ rights by whether asking them how old they were when they first had sex, and where and why, as well as how many people they have had sex with, Montri said.
This kind of questioning might also lead to other teenagers becoming curious and having premature sex, he said, as the “findings” told kids that others their age were having sex – so they may want to join the trend.
“It’s hard to imagine that youths have more problematic sexual behaviour than adults.
It’s just that adults are more mature and able to keep their [sex] covered up.”
Using surveys to investigate youth behaviour was a problem as it could lead to many negative consequences, he said.
Montri urged the government to tackle sexual problems as part of overall societal problems, and not single out the young.
The government should instead seriously reinforce the Child Protection Act, create places for family activities, and tackle social pollution such as pornography.