Searching for “rental wife Thailand” in Google produces an overwhelming amount of results. With websites titled “How to Find a Girlfriend or Wife in Thailand” and “How much is it if I rent some girl for one weekend?” it’s enough to make you feel sick (or excited if that’s your thing).
In Thailand, the job of “rental wife” has been established as a viable occupation for young women. Also known as “black pearls,” rental wives are hired by male foreigners living in Thailand to fill the role of an actual wife.
The job of rental wife entails acting as the customer’s wife as well as serving as a tour guide. In exchange for money, the women cook, clean, do laundry, and perform the other mundane tasks of everyday life. Rental period can vary from a single week up to several months. Men who have taken a liking to a certain rental wife often return to Thailand every year and live with them for months at a time.
The women are given an allowance for living expenses and sometimes receive houses or cars as presents. Some even have children with their renters.
For the lucky ones, rental wives turn into actual wives and live a married life with their former-renter husbands. But for the most part, the “relationship” ends when their rental wife agreement expires and the women are left to find a new renter.
Many of the women who turn to the rental wife occupation come from poor households and have no choice but to go into this line of work. Little by little they learn English, how to curry favor with the opposite sex, and how to date several men at one time. Women are free to leave the rental wife business, but for many, the life of being a rented woman is all they will know.