Thai women love German men but life in Germany today has its risks
German men in the last two years have moved back to the top of the list for Thai women seeking a foreigner life partner or marriage. Germany is emerging however as a country where there are danger signals for Thai women.
The Thai government has for a long time begun to recognise the huge increase in Thai women marrying foreign men.
The 'Mia Farang' status is now a sought after one by many Thai women with guarded caution among other parts of Thai
society, concerned at maintaining Thailand's unique culture and traditions. The huge numbers of Thai women marrying
foreigners began in the 1960s notably with German and Austrian men. TLL's News Center has been exploring the plight of
Thai women who seek and find love in Germany in a series of articles for the benefit of Thai women and ThaiLoveLines
Germany is popular place for Thai women seeking love
The number of Thai women moving to Germany is rising again. Germany was one of the first countries linked to the
movement of Thai women to foreign countries as marriage partners. The reason is clear, German men have earned a
reputation as men of good character and very popular in Thailand North easter Isan region. To Thai women, Germans are
handsome and their more reserved nature singles them out as men who act more than they talk. They are seen as reliable
and can aspire to a healthy income and living standard. While the divorce rate in German Thai relationships is lower than the
German average, there are issues which have emerged such as alcohol abuse and the rigid nature of Germany's education
system when applied to German Thai children. Another key issue is legal prostitution in Germany which has lured some Thai
women into its ranks. The growing immigration debate in Germany and now the reemergence of the problem of human
trafficking as a danger to vulnerable Thai women are all issues which Thai women using online dating sites like TLL should
Thai government not slow in protecting Thai women
These are are also challenges which the Thai government has not been slow to address. A small proportion of Thai
women in foreign countries become victims of abuse by partners and are also targeted by criminal elements sometimes
linked to the prostitution or human trafficking business.
Course for Thai women who marry foreigners introduced
The research on Thai women in foreign countries seems to show that such dangers are heightened in countries where
there is a history of legal prostitution. The Thai government in 2017 introduced a free course for Thai women marrying
foreigners often practical advice on how to deal with the unique circumstances of interracial marriage and in particular, the
culture or language barriers that may arise.
The course also seeks to prepare Thai women on how to react to abuse. It offers them guidance on how to access
support services available through the social services in their new home country and through Thai consular channels. An
official from Thailand's Social Development Ministry told Reuters news agency that the course aims to prevent Thai women
being abused by scammers or cheated by unscrupulous individuals. It also aims to make them aware of the threat of human
A Thai woman married to a German man who participated in the course, Ploynisa Duangdararungrueng, told Reuters
that it was important for Thai women, often viewed as submissive, to know how to stand up for themselves and their culture.
Her husband, German man Ralf Wacker praised the initiative. He appealed to the Thai government to set up a similar course
for western men marrying Thai women. 'For a lot of women, life in the West is like a fairy tale, but in reality it can feel
extremely isolating moving to a small town,' he said. 'If the Western man does not understand the family dynamics, this can
cause a lot of problems.' The day long course also offered important information for Thai women on the legal aspects of
marrying a foreigner.
Huge police raid targets Thai human trafficking gang in Germany
A raid by German police agencies on 17 locations in April 2018 shows that the problem of human trafficking of Thai
women in Germany has not disappeared. It was the biggest police raid in German history. Since the entry of Eastern
European states into the EU and the upsurge in Eastern European women being targeted by criminal groups, it was thought
that Thai women were less in danger. Germany is a key gateway for human trafficking in Europe as are Belgium and the
Prostitution is legal in Germany and many Thai women who have moved to live there have ended up working in the
industry on a voluntary and legal basis. This is also a key cause of concern. However a greater danger is posed by illegal
prostitution which involves human trafficking and where the profits are higher for those engaged in the activity. Human
trafficking for sex purposes is an international industry where Thai women are forced into bondage often as the result of debts
or arrangements made in Thailand with representatives of these illegal gangs.
Thai women trafficked to Germany using tourists visas and forgery
The raids in April resulted in the arrest of 56 suspects including 41 Thai women. As details emerged, it was revealed that
the enterprise involved the use of forged visas and passports. The criminal gang 'specialised' in the trafficking Thai
transsexual people. This is a lucrative niche market in German huge prostitution industry. Many of the people arrested were
unfortunate Thai women who had contracted debts for as much as $45,000 and were required to pay 100% of what they
earned to the gang.
In the aftermath of the raid spokesman for the German prosecutors office in Frankfurt Alexander badle revealed that the
ring leaders of the groups were a 51 years old Thai woman and her German partner. The victims, who also faced arrest were
brought into Germany using tourist visas and could not speak German leaving them in an extremely vulnerable position.
Raid in Germany was worldwide news
German authorities began investigating the ring in February 2017 and revealed that more than 1 million euros had been
earned. The raid garnered worldwide media attention with Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer describing it as an
'unprecedented strike against a national organised crime network'. Mr Seehofer is the leader of the powerful Bavarian
political party Christian Social Union which campaigns against immigration even though it is part of German Chancellor
Angela Merkel's newly formed grand coalition government.
Thai women marrying foreign men in Thailand
The last decade in Thailand has seen a sea change in attitudes towards Thai women marrying western men. German
men have been at the heart of this transformation. Not only did German men began the phenomenon but the popularity of
German men as foreign husbands in Isan province in the northeast of Thailand was been the catalyst that caused authorities
in Thailand to find out more about what was happening.
This new wave of foreign marriages has been driven by the internet and is at an unprecedented level. It began at the turn
of the millennium with the dawning of the internet age. This has continued into the age of smartphones where now nearly
every Thai woman, regardless of circumstances, can be online.
Roi Et province in Thailand and Thai Foreigner marriages
A village in Thailand Roi Et province was at the epicentre of this change when it was discovered that nearly 70% of the
young Thai women living there had German husbands.
Nearly every family had a German son in law
Since then, figures produced by Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board concerning 8 provinces
in Isan or northeast Thailand show, consistently, large level of investment in the region coming from both remittances sent by
Thai wives living abroad and foreigners investing in property developments. Many of the Thai women are living in
New building projects are funded by Thai German couples from Germany as well as other foreign countries such as the
United States and the United Kingdom. The concentration of German men in this area has identified them as key to the
social phenomenon of Thai women marrying foreigners. Since foreign marriages have become so acceptable in Thailand, it
has forced the Thai authorities to acknowledge the situation.
Thai government reaches out to Thai wives married to foreigners
Many government policies have sought to harness the growing numbers of Thai wives living in foreign countries as both
cultural and economic ambassadors for Thailand. This is a clever move as Thai women, in spite of negative stereotypes,
have a very good reputation and a lot of good will in foreign countries.
At the same time, the authorities are aware of pitfalls and dangers both to Thai women and also Thai society and culture.
In Germany in particular, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been keen to offer assistance to The women who get into
trouble or experience difficulties abroad.
Countries where prostitution is legal pose risk to Thai wives
Marriages between Thai women and foreign men have been studied extensively in the last decade and have been found
to be very successful and surprisingly more natural and supportive than the false western stereotype. Of course, some fail and
there instances where vulnerable Thai wives may face the prospect of abuse. Authorities in Thailand and host countries
worldwide have adapted to deal with these situations including prevention strategies. While there are bad outcomes in every
foreign country for a small proportion of Thai women, the numbers in countries where prostitution is a legal trade are
significantly higher even though it is still a minute percentage.
Research shows Thai foreigner marriages are equal and modern
These countries include Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland. On another hand important qualitative
research in Sweden, the UK, Switzerland and Australia have formed a favourable view of the nature of relationships between
Thai women and foreign husbands. What has surprised many commentators is that these relationships are quite modern,
equal and harmonious.
Thai women who cannot find employment are vulnerable
The problems pertaining to Thai women in Germany revolve around the Thai women who are vulnerable. This is
particularly the case with those with limited language skills and an inability to find money on the jobs market. The figures
have been exceptional small and the situation has been alleviated by strict visa requirements in Germany since 2007.
German authorities and Thai consular officials have been working to provide support to Thai women who may experience
abuse in Germany after moving there with a German partner.
Thai wives with abusive German partners targeted by authorities
In the past there has been evidence that some women have experienced physical abuse from German spouses who
regularly drink alcohol and where the family unit was experiencing financial difficulties. Some of the cases, where German
authorities have had to intervene, involved Thai wives who had been abandoned by German husbands or where Thai wives
were kept at home under coercive circumstances.
In the past Thai women without German were at risk
Other Thai women in Germany as in other European or Nordic countries have, in the past, sought shelter at women's
refuge centres. One of the common characteristics of these cases, which are very rare, was an inability of the Thai women to
communicate effectively. Since 2007 Germany has implemented laws and regulations which now require all immigrants to
pass tests showing an ability to communicate in the German language and an understanding of German culture and
Ability to earn money critical for Thai women in Germany
Some of the research into Thai wives in Germany has identified the ability of a Thai woman to earn income as a key
factor in determining the success of the marriage. It has been found that most cases of marriage breakdown between Thai
wives and German husbands occurs where the family is under financial pressure.
Another key factor was where children from a past relationship were brought to Germany having lived for some time in
Thailand. A significant number of these children had difficulty identifying to rigid standards, procedures and norms in
Germany and tend to rebel.
Research conducted in association with the Thai National Institute of Development Administration in Thailand showed
that where the family unit involved children and where the German partner's salary was limited, that such marriages are
under financial pressure. It was also found that Thai women who stayed at home as housewives and who were in a
relationship with a working class partner were also more prone to experience stress.
Among the most successful German Thai marriages were relationships where the Thai wife developed her own
business or income earning ability. A key factor in the financial pressures and acrimony experienced in these marriages was
the near universal wish, on the part of Thai wives, to remit money back to Thailand to assist their extended families.
Influx of foreigners into Northeast Thailand as marriage partners
The influx of foreigners into the north east of Thailand, as reported by Thai government agencies, has been lead
predominantly by European men. 72% of foreign husbands married to Thai wives, who have settled in the region, originate
from Europe. 20% are German. 13% are Asian, many Japanese while 10% are Americans and 5% are from Australia. This
immigration and investment into Thailand has been fundamental to a change of attitude in this part of Thailand at least about
foreign marriages between Thai women and westerners. Most northeastern families in Thailand now having a favourable
view of Thai Foreigner or in colloquial terms Thai 'Farang' relationships. This is at odds with prevailing opinion in the rest of
Thailand but there has been significantly more acceptance of such relationships. Historically the concept of Thai women
marrying foreigners has been stigmatised in Thai society.
Research on Thai women in Germany being updated
Studies conducted by Thai based institutions such as the National Institute of Development Administration and leading
Thai universities such as Thammasat university focused on the plight of Thai wives living in European countries such as the
Netherlands and Germany. Many of these studies are now seven or eight years old. Recent research in the last three or four
years has involved projects involving European universities and there is currently an in depth study being conducted for the
European Parliament through the University of Maastricht.
Thai wives in German could be far greater than official figures
The 2008 report by National Institute of Development Administration identified 45,000 approx Thai wives living in
Germany but some estimates suggest that the number of Thai women living in the country could be closer to 200,000.
Significantly, 20,000 Thai women travel to Germany every year. This is in addition to a significant number of Thai women
who are married to German men and choose to remain living in Thailand.
Many German men, particularly middle aged or those approaching retirement, like other foreigners, opt to move to a
country with a warmer climate and a lower cost of living. At the same time there is also a significant number of Thai wives
with German partners who remain living and working in Germany or abroad. Their German husbands visit Thailand to spend
time with Thai wives and family.
Red tape a key frustration for Thai women in Germany
Many Thai women living in Germany report long journeys to the Thai embassy or consulates around the country as well
German government departments as the first requirement in settling into the country. At the same time the German Thai wife
also has to square up to the financial relaties with their German husbands. 'My husband could not understand why I was
thinking of sending money to my family in Thailand and I was not earning any money. I remember telling myself that I must be
patient and find a way. So this is when I became serious about learning to speak in German,' one Thai wife living in Germany
told researchers. They also reported a feeling of inferiority due to the stereotyping of Thai women. 'I was intimidated by the
staff in the Thai embassy in Germany. I felt that many people in Germany see Thai women as prostitutes,' said another. One
Thai wife recalled travelling 400 kilometers to a Thai consulate and being sent home as she had forgotten to bring a
Thai women dismayed by new status in Germany
One of the most common recollections of Thai wives in Germany, at the outset, is the personal adjustment required by
them in order to take up menial service positions in the German economy. 'I have never been a cleaner before when I was in
Thailand, but I will never tell anyone back home,' one Thai woman told a team of Thai researchers. She explained however
that the money she found herself earning was a 'quite a lot' compared to the money she earned in Thailand. This is how
many Thai wives in Germany manage to reconcile Thai cultural expectations that they will remit money home and German
expectations that they will support their new families in Germany first.
Some Thai woman 'nudged' into prostitution in Europe
There is a noticeable difference in the lives of Thai women in Continental European countries and Scandinavian
countries where prostitution is legal or officially regulated. These countries report more incidences of Thai women seeking
help from authorities or suffering physical abuse. A key finding from some reports studying Thai wives in Germany is that
some Thai women, at lower end of the economic scale or who were with German husbands without job security or sufficient
income, are encouraged or at least nudged into prostitution. One Thai women even recalls being offered a job at a massage
shop or brothel while being interviewed at a German local employment centre run by the government.
Disturbing reports of Thai wives officially working as prostitutes
In the report for the Thai Institute of Development Administration, a researcher met numerous Thai wives living in
Germany. These women had German husbands, some who were also working as prostitutes on a professional basis. They
were, in fact, registered as prostitutes officially. Prostitution is legal in Germany and prostitutes pay taxes. Stringent visa
controls and screening have helped in severely reducing the levels of Thai women abused by illegal prostitution but this
pattern continues. Some Thai women living in Germany, including those married to German nationals continue to voluntary
opt for the profession. It is an irony that Thailand, so infamous for an extensive prostitution industry, criminalises prostitution
while in Germany it is legal.
Sex trafficking of Thai women to Europe has fallen off
However the problem of sex trafficking and exploitation continues. Many criminal gangs smuggle prostitutes into
Germany to work illegally. This was a more acute problem for younger Thai women decades ago but the movement by the
gang's to Eastern Europe has meant the threat has been thought to have fallen off significantly although there are still number
of Thai women being illegally trafficked into Germany to work in the underground prostitution industry. The recent raid by
German police in 2018 demonstrates this reality.
The legal prostitution business continues to attract Thai women as workers. One Thai wife interviewed for
ThaiLoveLines in 2017 reported that she knows quite a few Thai wives in Germany who are openly and legally working in the
Five storey brothel of Thai women in Germany
One researcher ina report for the Thai Institute of Public Administration records visiting a building in Germany, advertised
on the internet, which was a five storey brothel for Thai women. The basement if the building houses trans sexual workers. A
Thai woman married to a German man was interviewed about her life as legal prostitute working in Germany. She told the
interviewer that her work had made her estranged from her German husband whom she met a number of times a week at the
home they lived in outside the town where they live.
Thai wife says her husband is 'broad minded' about prostitution
The Thai wife explained that German men were 'broad minded' and accepted that prostitution was a profession. 'To be
in Germany you need to be broad minded and of a different mentality,' the unfortunate Thai woman told her interviewer. She
interpreted her life as 'fate' and explained that, even though she was working as a prostitute, the money she earned was only
enough to live on but was also unstable. 'It is not easy to sleep with other men,' she explained. 'German husbands are not
narrow minded, I am an optimistic person. If you ask me now I will not recommend anyone to come here,' she said. She
explained that her German husband understood why she was working in this capacity.
Thai wives praise German social support programmes
Thai wives in Germany speak highly of the the German social welfare system and supports available to German families
including German Thai families. Respondents to research projects on Thai wives in Germany reported that the social
services offices provided help with courses on learning German and assisted them in dealing with public utilities as well as
the provision of rent supports for families on marginal incomes.
The overwhelming number of German Thai relationships entail marriages and life partnerships hat are modern, reliable,
sustaining and loving. This is why German men are so loved by and popular with Thai women. However it is clear that Thai
women with less education and work skills can be in danger in Germany and will certainly face the challenge that life in
Germany will present. Read more in this series coming up. If you are a Tha woman or German man effecting by this news
story, please feel free to write to us confidentially at: email@example.com. We are here to offer advice,
assistance and to listen to your story. We are delighted to assist you and also assist others in making the right love connection