One party in Thailand’s government has set its sights on legalising prostitution. The Thai Civilised Party has requested to create a House committee to examine and analyse the prospect of prostitution being legalised in Thailand. The push to decriminalise is at least in part an effort to cut down on corruption as if sex for money was legal, government officials would not be able to force sex workers and those involved in the industry to pay illegal bribes.
Legalisation though would prevent the corruption of state officials demanding bribes from prostitutes to look the other way from their illegal acts. One deputy leader and chairperson of the party’s women’s rights working group explained yesterday that, even if the government fights against it and has anti-human trafficking laws in place, prostitution will still always exist in Thailand.
“Because of archaic laws, some officials claim that this industry does not officially exist, with some government officials even making widely ridiculed statements claiming there was no prostitution in Thailand.”
Legalising prostitution and sex work might also attract more foreign visitors that Thailand so desperately needs now if they were able to visit special massage parlours, lounges, gentlemen’s clubs, soapy massage, and brothels legally.
Additionally, over 500,000 sex workers estimated to be working in Thailand now would be recognised under the law, perhaps helping them receive some government benefits during Covid-19 or future pandemics. The Thai Civilised Party leader explained the push for legalising prostitution.
“People who work in the sex worker business also have no fundamental rights or social security. Therefore, the party decided to prepare to submit the motion for the council to consider establishing such an extraordinary committee. The government is also looking at proposals for other “grey” areas like casinos, it is important to finally address this issue and legalize it, which will also help stop corruption.”
Sex workers and nightlife workers have been rallying, protesting, and campaigning for Covid-19 relief as the government has offered bailouts and cash assistance to many sectors and jobs, but the world’s oldest profession has been exempted from any financial help.
And, once legalised, it could be a lucrative source of revenue for the government as they tax it, much like the efforts to create a legalised casino complex and the government’s current fixation on expanding the legalisation and usage of cannabis in Thailand.