From paid subscription site Question: If pedophilia is not tolerated in Thailand, as this author states, how does it thrive there to become such an international magnet? Sleazy Image Not Accurate Portrayal of Thailand Erick Gjerdingen, Herald-Times August 28, 2006 Had I not lived in Thailand for the last two years, I might picture Bangkok as a lawless and decrepit wasteland inhabited by pedophiles instead of the vibrant and culturally rich industrial capital of Southeast Asia that it is. The vast majority of foreigners living in Thailand are there because it is a wonderfully pleasant place to live. Rather than a fugitive, an expat is far more likely to be a former Peace Corps volunteer who finds that Thailand is the perfect mixture of the exotic they came to crave in Africa with the stability and opportunity for creature comforts found at home. With abundant work opportunities, the low cost of living and medical care, and weekend island escapes, many foreigners believe their overall quality of life is higher in Thailand than at home. A friend of mine from Nebraska often said that once someone had spent three years in Thailand, it was impossible to leave because they could not readjust to the complicated daily routine of their former lives. These people are fleeing the cubicles that once held them captive, not the FBI. I taught at a university where I often screened the applications of foreign teachers. Our typical teacher would have been a divorced mother of two from Oregon with years of experience in public health administration taking advantage of early retirement or a Scottish professor who had fled his native climate. The vast majority of applicants seemed to have lived remarkably normal lives and had come to a crossroads where they chose a radical change of pace. Yet, I did find myself suspicious of the motives of others. There were occasionally red flags in applications that made me uneasy. These ranged from a fake doctoral degree from an unaccredited alma mater to impressive work histories without dates or former employers' contact information to demands that we return all copies of their resume. Whenever the red flags flew, and people's behavior did not add up, I thought of Eric Rosser, caught after raising a potential employer's suspicions, and I Googled. As a former foreigner in Thailand, I have to admit that a certain segment of the expat population seemed shrouded in an aura of suspicion but, far more often than not, they were hiding from child support payments or reveling in escaping memories of failed business deals of the past for an anonymous present. No matter why they felt the need to flee, I think they fled to Thailand due to the ease and inconspicuousness with which they could obtain a high quality of life. Thailand's large sex industry could be regarded as symbolic representative of tolerance of all kinds of behavior, and as perhaps nurturing a criminal element, but this is simply not true. While there are relaxed attitudes towards prostitution, homosexuality and trans-gendered lifestyles, many Thai cultural norms are more conservative than in America. It is generally considered inappropriate to hold hands with the opposite sex, and Thais prefer to swim in public beaches fully clothed. Suffice it to say, pedophilia is not tolerated. Thai newspapers, particularly in heavily foreign areas, often contain stories about child prostitution rings with the stated purpose of focusing public attention on the issue to help create long-term solutions. Much like our own sex offender registries, Thai newspapers inform the public so that they can collectively make their communities safer. While reader responses on the Bangkok Post Web site noted an embarrassment over this latest incident reinforcing any reputation for Thailand being a "pedophile-friendly place," the arrests of Eric Rosser and John Mark Karr made communities around the world safer. That they were caught in Bangkok after stops across the globe is a testament to Thailand.