They tend to live with their boyfriends, if they have one, and are looked down upon by other Thai women.

Westerners have no such qualms, and while most may hesitate before marrying a street girl, they have no cultural reasons for not doing so, and unlike if she remained in Thailand, nobody back home need ever know her background.

Most move back to Switzerland, although some remain in Thailand, particularly in Isaan, Northeast Thailand.

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Nang is typical of most Thai women in overcoming the various difficulties originally encountered on leaving her home country for the first time to live among foreigners.

She learned that she was able to do things like start up her own business and make decisions within the marriage.

Tales of responsibilities within the marriage and of the respect many western men show to their wife are also powerful attractors for young Thai women to foreigners.

They are now questioning the role played by women in Thai-Thai marriages, and the fact that their premarital sexual history seems irrelevant to western men.

There are several reasons for Thai women to marry foreigners, one significant reason being connected with Thai culture.

In Thailand, women are expected to remain chaste until married, which is why few Thai men will marry a widow or divorcee, and prostitutes generally have no options in marriage.Rattana Toaskul Boonmathya, an anthropologist from the Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development at Mahidol University.In fact, a study recently carried out by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has established that 15,284 women from 17 northeast provinces have married western men, and that women from as many as one-third of families in some villages are married to foreigners. Ratana frequently flies to the northeastern provinces, and was intrigued to notice that around a third of passengers on her flights consisted of Thai women and western men.They are noticing that many westerners are marrying divorcees and offering them respect, and not just them, but also any children they are bringing into the marriage from their former Thai husbands.This is opening their eyes and leading them to question the customs of their own country.On investigating further, she has discovered that a new Thai wife will frequently leave her homeland to live in the west with her husband.