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And the offenders are not just Western tourists, but are just as likely to be locals and other Asian men," he said. Children worldwide are more likely to be preyed upon by residents of their own homeland than foreign tourists seeking illicit sex, anti-trafficking experts say. Last year, Urban Light worked with more than 1,000 boys in Chiang Mai, which Ms Russell said was a record. Poverty drives thousands in rural Thailand and from neighbouring countries to the bustling capital of Bangkok, too. Boys and so-called "ladyboys", or transgender women, are trafficked to the city, lured by promises of jobs in restaurants, then forced into sex work. There are at least 10,000 ladyboys working in Bangkok's sex industry, said Celeste McGee, founder of Dton Naam, a charity that focuses on boys and transgender women. "There is more stigma around transgender women than even homosexual men," said Ms McGee. "They are exposed to a lot of violence and abuse from clients, and need different interventions for rehabilitation." Urban Light and Dton Naam offer counselling, vocational guidance, funds to complete school, and job opportunities. In Chiang Mai, many drive tuk-tuks with the help of loans or grants, Ms Russell said. One of them, who goes by the name Joe, entered the trade when he was 15 years old, and worked for seven years, contracting HIV along the way. Today, he drives a tuk-tuk, his girlfriend sometimes accompanying him, with an Urban Light sticker that says 'Boys cannot be baht' displayed prominently on the vehicle.
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