Thai sex workers demand compensation over Covid-19 restrictions

Bangkok, Jun (EFE).- Thailand’s sex workers and other professionals dependent on the nightlife on Tuesday held a protest outside the government headquarters in Bangkok against being overlooked for compensation over the closure of bars and clubs since April due to a Covid-19 surge.

Dressed in colorful dresses and heels, at least 20 representatives of nightlife trades, including massage parlors, strip clubs and karaokes linked with the sex work, hung up bikinis – their “work clothes” – on the fence of the government offices.

“We pay taxes like the others, why don’t we receive aid?” said one of the placards held by the protesters.

The participants, all of them women and trans persons, alleged that they had been discriminated against compared to other workers who have received aid, and demanded monthly assistance of 5,000 baht (around $155) until the restrictions are lifted.

The entertainers also left around 30 pair of heels with notes on the ground at the protest site to condemn being mistreated and neglected despite their significant contribution to the economy, which has been put as high as 10 percent of the national GDP by some studies.

Nonprofit Empower Foundation, which works for the rights of sex workers, told EFE that around 300,000 women were involved in the sex trade in Thailand, and they had received aid requests from around 1,500 of them since April.

The foundation said that many sex workers prefer to remain anonymous and do not seek help as prostitution is illegal in the country.

Under Thai law, prostitution is punishable by up to 40,000 baht ($1,200) in fines and prison sentences of up to two years. EFE


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