Whether we like it or not, some teenagers do engage in sexual activity. Ignoring for a moment the moral and health issues that this can represent, it makes sense that both they and us understand what the very real legal implications can be in Thailand – if and when enforced.
What do you know of the age of sexual consent in Thailand?
Teenage sexual encounters are not something that many of us are comfortable talking about, but perhaps they should be – to protect our children.
In Thailand the official legal age of consent is 15 years old. But is it really?
Sex with a person of 14 years or younger is very clear in Thai law and can lead to prosecution for statutory rape. But, between the ages of 15 and 17 this is much less clear and what I attempt to explain below is my best understanding of what is a very murky area. Here goes…
In Thailand sexual encounters with a minor under the age of 18 may be classed as a compoundable offence, even if this was with a person over 15 and with their explicit consent.
To clarify (I hope!), what this means is that a young person having sex with another person aged 15, 16, or 17 may be prosecuted for this “compoundable offence” if one participant (normally the girl), or their parent, were to file charges against the other side when they later decided they regretted what they had done. In effect, this makes the unfettered Thai age of consent to sex to be 18 years of age.
Our young people also need to be aware that Thailand does not operate “Romeo and Juliet” exemptions, where two young people of similar ages found to have been having sex together may be exempted from prosecution. This exemption is common in western countries but does NOT happen in Thailand; there is no such exemption. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 14 year old and the second is a 15 or 16 year old. The older may be prosecuted for statutory rape.
Please consider using this information to open a dialogue with your child and ensure that they understand the very real risks of prosecution, and possibly even incarceration, that they could be subjected to. I am very much against attempting to scare young people into “behaving well”, but this is not scaremongering – the risk is very real, were they to fall foul of the Thai laws related to sexual consent.
Mr Kevin Pugh