Airline slammed for sex trade promo

AirAsia has been slammed after running an ad campaign that seemingly promotes sex tourism.

Equally as guilty, it seems, is Brisbane City Council, for plastering the advertisements proclaiming ‘Get off in Thailand. Fly direct from Brisbane to Bangkok’ all over buildings and buses.

The ads ran on Brisbane buses for about a month, but drew widespread criticism on social media, after Collective Shout spokesperson Melinda Liszewski published photos and a slew of posts on Twitter, and penned a piece for www.collectiveshout.org branding the ad ‘sexist’ and for promoting sex tourism.

“I was out to dinner with friends when I saw this bus pull up to a bus stop on a busy Brisbane street. I jumped up from my table and ran outside to take this photo,” wrote Ms Liszewski.

“How many people signed off on this?”

Ms Liszewski said the ads were a “dog whistle for sex tourists” and berated Brisbane City Council for allowing them to run.

“Brisbane City Council is profiting from these horrific endorsements of sex tourism,” said Ms Liszewski.

“The information I have is that 250,000 western male sex tourists visit Thailand with the purpose of sex with impoverished women and children. Sex in these circumstances amounts to rape and child sex abuse. I believe this advertisement is for those men.”

AirAsia has since removed the ads and issued an apology.

“AirAsia takes community feedback extremely seriously and the airline sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused from recent concerns raised,” said a spokeswoman for AirAsia.

“AirAsia can confirm the advertising campaign has ended and we instructed our media partners to have the advertising removed as soon as possible today from all locations.”

Do you think the ad is blatantly sexist? Or is Ms Liszewski reading too much into this? Is there any excuse for this seemingly blatant promotion of the sex trade?

Related articles:
Hotel pics fight sex trafficking
Bang for your buck in Bangkok
Where is best in Southeast Asia?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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