Support Grows for Decriminalizing Prostitution in Thailand

by Admin on September 24, 2020

The Empower Foundation aims to collect 10,000 signatures to show parliament in a bid to decriminalize the current prostitution law in Thailand. As of 23rd September 2020, the petition has reached over 1,000 signatures.

Surang Janyam, director of the Service Workers in Group (SWING) said that the current criminalization of prostitution in Thailand violates sex worker’s labor rights and claims that the sex industry is a valuable source of income for Thailand. The Thai government receptiveness to the decriminalization efforts seems “cool” at best, with an unidentified government spokesman stating their awareness and acknowledgment of the current situation. Last year saw over 24,000 people involved in offenses related to sex-work.

According to criminal lawyers in Thailand, prostitution cases are rare, usually occurring only when there is an organization that includes a middleman who markets and administers several prostitutes.  Sex work has been illegal in the country as per The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, signed in 1996, replacing the Suppression of Prostitution Act (1960), which originally made prostitution a criminal offense and punishable with imprisonment and/or fine. However, criticism has been made in an article by the Thailand Law Journal which discusses how the Act has several sections that seem to be up to interpretation or lacking clarity.

The Thai-born Empower Foundation has been advocating for sex worker’s rights in the country for decades. Many Western countries including the Netherlands and the State of Nevada in the USA allow legal prostitution and the profession is regulated by the government. The foundation operates a sex museum in Bangkok and the following video explains what they’re currently doing to help sex workers in Thailand.

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