From humble beginnings to one of the most urbanised cities in Thailand, somewhere between 300,000–500,000 people call Pattaya home, including many illegal immigrants, unregistered workers and long-term expatriates.

Historically, Pattaya has high levels of crime, often attributed to organised crime in, and preying on, the sex industry.

The city has pushed hard to clean up its image, including crackdowns on underage sex workers and their clients, however, much remains to be done to restore hope to victims and their families and bring light to a city in darkness.

In Pattaya, Step Ahead’s ITSERA purse brand began with fifteen women making new lives for themselves, making ITSERA woven  leather purses. Today this innovative  community economic development movement continues with ITSERA purse production now impacting the poorest regions of Thailand – the Northeast also called Isaan.