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Shan Boys and Trafficking

Trafficking of Shan Males is a serious issue

Boys from the Shan State

Chiang Mai province is adjacent to Burma, which has suffered years of oppression, civil war and internal instability. In the Shan State bordering Northern Thailand these problems are particularly acute and have led to a mass exodus of migrant workers and refugees into Thailand.

Deprived of a proper legal status, many young Shan males (or Tai Yai as they are called in Thai) are limited in the work they can do in Thailand, and are frequently exploited in the construction industry, working long hours for much less than the national minimum wage. They are often victims of Trafficking in one form or another.

It is perhaps no surprise then, that some of them find their way to work in Chiang Mai’s gay commercial sex industry as dancers in go-go bars and waiters in Karaoke bars.

The Shan have quite distinctive physical characteristics and many are extremely handsome in a way that is different from Thai people. This makes some of these good looking young men a target of much admiration by foreign gay visitors and residents in Chiang Mai. Quite a few gay foreigners living here have formed long term friendships with Shan Boys, and are supportive of the Shan cause.

Trafficking is an emotive subject with many facets and implications. Sometimes, certain aspects of the issue are mis-represented by those purporting to do good, but operating with hidden agendas.

Undercover Investigation

Against this background, Rob the intrepid undercover investigator from has spent many months following these Shan boys to understand more about their lives and hardships living in Chiang Mai, and having so many foreigners trying to exploit their good nature.

After a long research study we can now reveal the shocking truth about how young Shan males are trafficked and forced into prostitution. The following is a photographic account of trafficking, abuse, forced labour and dangerous working practices.

WARNING: some may find the following photos shocking

How are Shan Boys Trafficked?

Balloons are used to Traffic Shan Boys in Chiang Mai
Speed Boats are very Popular
Speed Boats
Speed Boats used to traffic Shan to the beach.
Speed Boats on the beach.
Thai Airways (Business Class only Please)
Thai Airways International (Business Class only)


During “trafficking” Shan Boys are often kept in squalid offshore accommodation.

Squalid Accomodation for Trafficked Shan
Squalid Accomodation

Dangerous Working Practices

In their line of work they are often placed in extreme danger with wild animals:

Shan Boy with Tiger
shan boy with big python
Shan boy Shepard with a flock of sheep
Tai Yai Boys with Python

Note: No snakes were harmed during the course of this investigation, but there is some concern one of the sheep may have finished up on the barbecue.


Shan boy prostitutes in Chiang Mai

Some boys are forced to enjoy themselves against their will.

Shan boy at lake in Chiang Mai

Or get a little too in touch with their gay side.

shan boys playful kiss
shan boy with very gay outfit

Warning others

Sexy Shan boys with iPhones at pool

Shan “boys” “forced” into prostitution desperately try to call home on their i-Phones to warn others.

Trying to Escape

Those that run away are often caught:

Shan Boy Wanted Poster

Tragic Endings

Once they are no longer useful, they are simply driven to a quarry…

shan boy quarry jumping


shan boys roadside Lao Khao party

Abandoned by the roadside:

shan boys roadshow

And left to fend for themselves:

shan boys taken from behind

Forced into the Army:

Khun Sa - Mong Tai Army

Or dumped on a remote part of the border:

On the Thai border with Burma near Arunothai

The life of the poverty stricken Shan Male

shan boy antique motorbike
Shan boy motorbikes
Hunky Shan Guys - Chiang Mai gay hustlers
I Love Tai Yai at Adam's Apple Club

You gotta Problem with That?


On a serious Note

We hope you enjoyed what was obviously a tongue in cheek “expose” on the plight of trafficking “victims”, used as a blatant excuse to show lot’s of pictures of handsome Shan young Men. It is also a subtle re-buttal of some of the mis-information put out by certain parties with other agendas. However, we are well aware there are very serious issues involved which it is not our intention to trivialise.

Some Shan boys have evidently done very well out of the bar businesses and connecting with Farang suitors and sponsors. A lot of Farangs in Chiang Mai have found long term friendships and relationships with Shan guys that have enriched the lives of all involved and provide benefits that have extended to family and friends too. But, we cannot forget, that for every story that has an apparent happy ending, there are many more young Shan males who live a life of hardship and exploitation working in construction or washing dishes for a pittance. Others engage in selling survival sex on the streets to feed drug addictions or languish in Thai jails. Some even die trying to escape from Burma.

In the interests of not sending out mixed messages we will save discussion of the serious side of trafficking for a future article. But, as a closing thought, we have yet to meet a Shan boy, who if circumstances and opportunities were different, would not choose to be living in an independent Shan State with his own family, wife and children and a modest way of making a living to support them.

For the avoidance of doubt the term “boy” in this article refers to young males over the age of eighteen, which is a common usage of the word in Thailand

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