It sounds very sexist, and certainly very politically-incorrect, to refer to a girl's future with those three options, but in most developing countries, those are the three main choices. Not only that, but the option of a worthwhile education for all but the richest families in society is still not guaranteed.
Let's take a look at education first. Most people in poor countries are subsistence farmers and rural schools just do not usually attract the kind of staff that can educate kids to the standard required to pass a university entrance examination.
Like it or not, that is just a fact. Does the hierarchy in most poor countries care? The answer is, no, not really. Why? Because they need farmers to produce food or there would be civil unrest. Furthermore, they like things just the way they are. Their own university-educated children are the only ones with sufficient qualifications to succeed them.
In that way, there is less competition and the status quo is preserved with only a very few, rare upsets. Most village kids who get to university have been sent to private schools and only the well-off can afford to do that. A generation ago, that situation would have been much worse. Theo generations ago, it would have been unthinkable.
The next option to better oneself was, maybe even still is, to 'make a good marriage'. However, the scope for 'marrying above one's station' within one's own society is limited to one or two rungs on the social ladder and you need a lot going for you to do even that.
The exception and big hope for many girls from developing countries, is to marry a 'rich' foreigner. This brings us neatly onto the sex industry and more precisely on to the sex tourism industry. For if a girl wanting to go down that route stays in her village waiting for a foreigner to pass through, she will probably die a spinster.
How many rural villages do you visit when you go on holiday?
The only way forward for her is to go to a city that has become known as a recognised sex tourist centre. Like Pattaya and many other cities in many other countries. They also have to go there at a fairly young age (21 in Thailand) because there is intense competition.
In the new book by Owen Jones "Behind The Smile ~ the Story of Lek, a bar girl in Pattaya", Lek needs to earn enough money to pay her father's bank loan and save the family farm from foreclosure, but she has no education to speak of because she had expected to marry and work on the family farm. It just did not work out like that.
She goes to Pattaya not to look for a husband, but because the wages are better than in the village. However, when she realises that doing a straight job is not earning her enough money, she drifts into the tourist sex industry and then spends 10 years trying to get out of it again.
The book tells Lek's story from her point of view. It tells of her hopes, her fears, her modus operandi and some of exploits. It also tells of some of her colleagues in "Daddy's Hobby", the bar where she works.