Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand

I was able to Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand and although short it truly was eye-opening and an experience that, I would not change for anything.

Heading to Pattaya

I went back to Bangkok where I connect with Lena again! (: We follow a connection Dawn Suwaratana gave me and take a bus with a goal to volunteer in Pattaya.

Entering Pattaya, I am struck by the dramatic increase of white, often older men – some alone, some with young Thai girls hanging off their arms.

Pattaya, once a sleepy fishing village, has become one of the largest centers of sexual exploitation in the world. There is really only one reason for a man to visit Pattaya – cheap sex.

Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand -Mercy Pattaya

In Pattaya we meet up with Fred and Dianne Doell from Mercy Pattaya -Childrens Home – an incredible couple with hearts and souls overflowing with God’s love.

Fred warmly welcomes us like we are special guest. He shows us around, sits us down, asks us about ourselves and answers all our questions – I know he is an incredibly busy man – it does not show.  He treats us as if we are the most important part of his day.

Fred arranges for us to visit their children’s home that afternoon. We buy some candies for the kids, and then head out to the home. This children’s home was created to take in orphans and other children from the slums of pattaya who would otherwise be headed for certain sexual exploitation – one of the only means of financial income for many struggling families.

After a little while of being with the children in the home, I fight an urge to leave. I know this seems strange, because I used to be able to visit orphanages/children’s homes, play with the children and then leave feeling happy.  Now, however, my biological urge and desire to adopt children has become too strong.

The innocent, tiny faces smiling up at me. The little girl that insist on sitting in my lap and being read to; the little boy grabbing my hand and showing me his toys – I just cannot take it any more. The urge to take them with me as my own has become too strong and I fear that if I stay much longer –attachments will deepen and I will be unable to leave.

Fred and Diana have done an exceptional job with this children’s home – the children have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and protection from the horrors of the slums and activities of Pattaya.

Although Fred and Diana have done an exceptional job with this children’s home – the children have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and protection from the horrors of the slums and activities of Pattaya – there are over 40 children and such is the nature of orphanages’ that the children lack the individual love of two caring parents.

The children’s instant warmth and ability to crawl fearlessly into a strangers lap gives me the impression that many people have come in and out of their lives. I do not want to be just another visitor who plays, loves and leaves them… and I tell Lena that I need to go.

If you want to volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand, I highly recommend contacting Fred and Dianne Doell from Mercy Pattaya and see what you can do to help them and the other ministries they have and volunteer in Pattaya.

Despair on Walking Street Pattaya

Hearing much about the legendary “Walking Street,” we decided to visit it that evening, wanting to see for ourselves the horrors that Fred and Diana and the slums of Pattaya are up against.

The devil himself owns this street. It is a street with one purpose – sex. We do not walk but 10 meter when the first of many “menus” offering graphic picture of every kind of sex you could ever want is shoved into our faces. I reel in disgust and say brutal words of refusal to the shover. “Shop window’s” advertise their dancing wares on poles. Skimpily dressed girls smiling innocently to passerby’s, alluring them through the closed doors of the clubs and bars. I can only imagine the horrors behind those secluded doors.

I am horrified and gawk with contempt and open disgust at it all; glaring with sadness at the girls selling their bodies.

I catch one of their eyes – she is a pretty girl who looks about 15 – she meets my pitying glare with a haughty one of her own. I catch myself, and am suddenly filled with shame – how could I be so cruel?

Here I am judging the men filling the streets who are eyeing the ‘meat’ to be devoured… when my pitying glares are likely confirming what that girl already thinks about herself and what she has be told by everyone – who and what she has been made into: a whore, a rotten no-body who has been defiled and feels that now she deserves contempt, not respect, not equality nor friendship and certainly not love – only pity.

I smile – a pure smile, no pity, no sadness, a smile that I would give a friend – her eyes darken and the haughty smile is lost. She shifts awkwardly and looks down at her feet. In that moment she becomes human.  Her soul with its longings, passions and dreams revealed. She is just a little girl in big girl clothes. She was met with human equality and breaks under the power of it.

The moment is brief – the bouncers at the door demand and customers are to be lured. The object returns to her duty, the haunting, “innocent” smile returns to her stone face and her body resumes a seductive pose.

I too am broken by the exchange of human connection, my contempt and pride dissolve, I wonder what her story is… what brought her to this place –

What if this girl and each girl and boy in Pattaya could hear this truth:

‘you are fearfully and wonderfully made…
How precious are God’s thoughts about you, they cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when you wake up, God is still with you!’ ps. 139:14,17,18


The streets are now filled with humans, souls desperate to survive, longing for love, for respect, for hope. I see now the clothes of the women shoving “sex menus” in my face, they are tattered, she is old, her eyes are soft and pleading beneath the stone façade, she is a survivor.

There is also a Russian “club” on walking street. It feigns class and two beautiful Russian girls in cocktail dresses are handing out fliers out front. Now tell me, why would Russian girls come to Thailand “for a better life?” Makes you wonder…

We leave the street – as do hundreds of white, and often older men, their ‘prizes’ dangling from their arms – and head back to the hotel in silence.

Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand -The Slums

The next day Lena and I get to volunteer in Pattaya Thailand -in the slums.  We help package up and deliver food to the people of the Pattaya slums and our eyes are opened to the hopelessness of their existence.

We then take a bus to the airport and part ways – Lena to Germany, and I to Myanmar.

Note on Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking

Children (boys and girls) are often forced into this business by desperation and poverty – sometimes sold by their families for $50-$200 to the brothels and pimps. Sometimes they are tricked into it with false promises of a happier life: becoming a model, going to school or as a way to get to the “wealthy” West.

Trafficking has become a massive industry, an intricately woven system often involving powerful people and blackmail. Escape from this life is practically impossible as so many are held captive by “debt” to pimps/brothel owners or by threats to their loved ones. Their owners work to dehumanize them, making them into machines using drugs and utter humiliation. Behind the pretty smiles and bright lights of Pattaya, is a sadness of unfulfilled dreams and disappointment… and so many stories of pain, hurt, confusion and despair.

You can read more details about Sex Exploitation and Human Trafficking in UNICEF’s well written document: Children on the Edge- Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking also watch the movie called: Human Trafficking!

Bluetree -‘God of This City’ Pattaya, Thailand

To actually visit and volunteer in Pattaya and see the sex exploitation and poverty that drives so many to sell their bodies, gives new meaning to the incredible story of “God of This City.” This incredible song was inspired when the Irish band Bluetree went to sing in a brothel in Pattaya.  They were invited to sing in a bar as long as they brought friends who would drink cokes… and then while they were singing, God gave them the words and music for this powerful song…

In Bluetree’s own words, “Amidst the depravity God says, ‘I’m the God of this City, I’m the King of these people and Greater Things are Yet to Come, Greater Things are Still to be Done HERE”.

In spite of poverty, hopelessness, pain and despair, God gives hope.  God is love.
Chris Tomlin talks about the Story behind ‘God of the City’:

Bluetree performs God of this City in Mae La Refugee Camp, Mae Sot, Thialand:

“You’re the God of this city.
You’re the King of these people. You’re the Lord of this nation. You are.
You’re the light in this darkness. You’re the hope to the hopeless.
You’re the peace to the restless. You are.
For there is no one like our God. There is no one like our God.
Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done in this city. Greater things have yet to come.
Greater things are still to be done here.”

Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand RELATED LINKS:

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Return to Home from Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand

If you want to volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand, I highly recommend contacting Fred and Dianne Doell from Mercy Pattaya and see what opportunities they have to volunteer in Pattaya slums, volunteer in Pattaya prisons, volunteer in Pattaya Children’s Home, volunteer in Pattaya through financial and prayer support.

Thanks for reading Volunteer in Pattaya, Thailand!

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