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Bangkok sex workers and bar staff call for monthly cash handouts

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Twitter/@opol999

High heels were lined up on the ground and underwear was tied to a gate outside the Government House in Bangkok this morning as the city’s sex workers and other bar and nightlife staff called for monthly cash handouts. Covid-19 restrictions shut down bars and nightclubs, leaving many out of work for months.

Only a group of around 20 gathered, some wearing bikinis over their clothes. Due to restrictions in Bangkok, no more than 20 people are allowed to gather. Pairs of high heels were neatly placed outside with messages attached. A sign said “No Money. No Honey. No GDP.”

Those at the rally, backed by the Thai sex worker organisation Empower Thailand, asked the government for a 5,000 baht handout each month until their workplaces are allowed to reopen. Nightlife venues in Bangkok have been closed since April and will likely remain closed for a while given the current Covid-19 situation.

A formal letter calling on financial assistance was submitted to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Representatives from bars, karaoke venues, massage parlours and spas spoke about the troubles they’ve had due to the closures ordered by the government to control the spread of the coronavirus.

In a report from Coconuts Bangkok, an activist told reporters that sex workers generate income for the country and the workers deserve government compensation during this time.

Whilst the issue of prostitution and the work of many bar girls in Thailand remains hush hush, and their work is not recognised by government officials, the workers have no government financial trampoline to help them through the pandemic.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Coconuts Bangkok

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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