In the shadow of war

Thailand's deep south: Chasing freedom, testing faith

Hidden barriers expose women to violence within their community in Thailand's deep south, but moves like mixed-gender football are getting people thinking

Tuan Nur Firdaos (centre), 12, is a member of the Buku football club in Pattani. The club puts men, women, boys and girls on the same pitch at the same time - a move that has been criticised by religious conservatives.
Young people hanging out during an evening in Pattani, one of the provinces in Thailand’s south that have seen years of separatist violence. While insurgent attacks are on the wane, the outlook for peace remains uncertain. ST PHOTO: ARLINA ARSHAD

Looking for some extra income, Ms Norainee (not her real name) signed up for a "health programme" after a former schoolmate said it would help her get a job.

But it was a trick to corner her and three other women in a room. Threatening violence, he forced them to stimulate him sexually.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 29, 2018, with the headline 'Chasing freedom, testing faith'. Subscribe