Bangkok, Thailand: At what age should children be taught to fight one another? Many of us would say never, but that’s the not the case if you’re part of the Muay Thai community in Bangkok, Thailand.
Muay Thai is a tradition kept alive because it is a business. The child boxers are there to bring prize money back to their families. The tradition of child boxing has brought Thailand the ire of tourists and human rights activists, who see the practice as dangerous for the children. But in Isaan, the North Eastern and poorest region of Thailand, child boxing is a community business.
It provides income to families that would otherwise have to rely on their rice paddies and a way out of poverty for some children with few options.
Child boxers can earn as much in a night as their parents can farming rice in a year. And there is always the chance of being discovered by promoters, and achieving fortune in Bangkok. Successful fighters are celebrities in Thailand, and most of them come from Isaan.