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Sex worker support group pressures Thai government to decriminalise prostitution

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A sex worker support group called The Empower Foundation is hoping to persuade the Thai government to decriminalise prostitution by seeking a 10,000 signature petition. The group, based in Chiang Mai, wants penalties for selling sex removed as it says the 1960 law harbors exploitation and corruption. Such a removal would require Thailand to withdraw the Anti-Prostitution Act which saw more than 24,000 people arrested under it by the Royal Thai Police just last year.

The coordinator for the group, Thanta Laowilawanyakul, says police only go after the sex workers and not the employers, with those found breaking the law to be branded with a criminal record that makes it hard to leave the industry as finding legal work becomes an issue. Thanta says 80 percent of the women working in the sex industry are the primary breadwinners for the entire family.

“Sex workers are lawfully registered in Germany, Amsterdam and Singapore. Why not Thailand? The answer is no, because the government thinks it will ruin the country’s reputation. Meanwhile, Germany has over 700,000 prostitutes, yet the profession is not stigmatised.”

A researcher at Thammasat University also concluded that the Anti-Prostitution Act doesn’t work due to the large scale corruption of the Thai police. Such corruption allows prostitution to continue in the form of massage parlors, karaoke bars and clubs where such establishments can give a kickback to police and still make large profits. Such establishments, according to a Rangsit University criminology expert, reportedly give anywhere from 200,000 – 400,000 baht in bribe money to police to keep prostitution and human trafficking alive.

The numbers of illegal sex workers are staggering as Empower estimates that the country has almost 300,000 such workers, a number that is twice that of a UN report in 2014 due to what the group attributes to a failure to take into account the migrants and underage children in the business.

Empower is hoping its petition, which gained 10,000 signatures at the September 19 anti-government protest in Bangkok, will bring awareness to the issue that has historically been ignored by the government. A spokesman for the Social Development and Human Security Ministry women’s affairs section says that it is reviewing the law and could put amendments on the table for next year.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail | The Thaiger

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    The kickbacks are the police main source of income. Their regular salary is an allowance to the wife and kids.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    “The numbers of illegal sex workers are staggering as Empower estimates that the country has almost 300,000 such workers”

    Only 300,000? Why is that “staggering” if, as the article and Empower claims, “Germany has over 700,000 prostitutes”?

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I can’t help being rather dubious about the automatically assumed link between prostitution and human trafficking, at least in Thailand although I’m sure it applies in other places.

    Despite the “stigma”, all those I’ve met in the profession here are willing participants with no coercion involved or required, who simply see it as a profession of choice like any other – no more, no less.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    I totaly agree. I stand up for women, especially sex workers.

    • Avatar

      Rinky Stingpiece

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 9:43 pm

      You don’t have to stand up, there are other positions.

  5. Avatar

    Whiro

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Ladies, don’t waste your time.
    Have a safe trip back home. It’s time for you to start growing your food. Sun will be shining and rain will be falling :))
    Good Luck :))

  6. Avatar

    Stefan Svensson

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    It will never be legalized as long as the corrupt Police can make money out of it

  7. Avatar

    James

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Many women in Thailand do the job because it pays well in the long run.

    99% of the sex-workers working all around Thailand are from the Issan region of Thailand where it seems normal for them to do such jobs.

    In Phuket for example there are thousands of jobs they could do in hotels and shops but they do not pay as much as ripping off stupid farang tourists, many sex workers have many silly farang men sending them money each month, many farangs fall for the sex workers who believe the lies they are told and end up buying houses and land for the sex-workers who suddenly disappear with all the money.

    I have spoken to many farangs over the years where they have fallen for such girls and lost everything, it is their own fault I suppose for believing 25-year-old women could really find old men of 50 plus desirable as real partners.

    They do make me laugh though, just for being so stupid.

  8. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I am torn over this, on the one hand, prostitution in Thailand is an example of entrepreneurship and many women are able to secure far higher incomes than they would in normal jobs that there are already high barriers to entry for anyway; but having met these women (not as a customer), I find them to be incredibly short-term thinkers, and very few are using it as a ladder to a better life. The notion that legalising it will harm the country’s reputation is laughable, the government can’t control what people outside think, and the reputation is long-established already. Legalisation and routine testing and outreach and welfare support would make the government look good, but they don’t seem to be particularly receptive to progressive ideas that might raise people up into the mainstream

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American arrested for alleged murder in Chiang Mai has past record of abuse in Colorado

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Photo via Facebook/ตำรวจภูธรจังหวัดน่าน

The American man who was recently arrested for allegedly murdering his pregnant Thai wife in Chiang Mai had been sentenced to 2 years of probation back in 2019 on assault charges after his gun went off while he was threatening a woman in Colorado. A report from the Associated Press says it appears to be the same woman.

Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, had initially faced attempted murder charges for assaulting a woman in Longmont, Colorado, but those charges were dropped. A Boulder District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told a local reporter in a previous report that “in every case, we need witnesses to testify at a trial. Unfortunately, due to issues with the victim’s availability, the higher charge had to be dismissed.”

The victim had called the police saying Jason had asked to have sex and then assaulted her when she said “no,” according to the arrest report. She told police he hit her face and slammed her head onto the bed’s headboard several times before taking out a revolver and threatening to kill her, the report says. The woman told police she pushed the gun and it went off near her head.

Balzer pled guilty to third-degree assault in December 2019 and was sentenced to 2 years of probation. In December 2020, Jason was arrested in Colorado after police allegedly found 73 guns in his van. Possession of firearms is a violation of probation. It’s unclear when Jason travelled to Thailand.

Since the case in Colorado involved a victim of domestic violence, the name was redacted in public court records, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office told AP reporters that the victim has the same name as the woman killed in Thailand. Based on photographs, the spokesperson says they appear to be the same person.

On Thursday, Jason was arrested in Chiang Mai. Reports say he confessed to stabbing and killing his wife, 32 year old Pitchaporn Kidchop, who was 3 months pregnant. Police say Jason sealed his wife’s body in a garbage bin before taking it to the woods about 5 kilometres away. In Thailand, a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Local police posted photos of the crime reenactment on Facebook. In Thailand, it is common for suspects to admit to crimes and reenactment the crimes to law enforcement officers and the press.

 

SOURCE: Time Call | Associated Press

 

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Crime

Thai woman admits to stealing lottery tickets from blind ticket seller in Bangkok

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A 57 year old Thai woman is admitting to stealing lottery tickets from a blind seller in Bangkok. The woman, Sumali Muangpluem, is now under arrest for allegedly stealing from the disabled seller in the underground Sutthisan Station train between November 25-27 of last year. Sutthisan police say they collected evidence of the same type of theft in many districts, leading them to issue an arrest warrant for Sumali.

Police say their investigations revealed that the suspect would approach blind lottery ticket sellers while holding several tickets in her left hand. She would then use the right hand to pretend she was choosing a ticket and pull all of the tickets off at once so that the lottery seller would only hear one ticket being pulled. She would then hand some tickets to the seller while she hid the rest so onlookers wouldn’t notice. She would then put the tickets in her bag while talking to the seller at the same time to keep her from noticing.

They say the suspect would then tell the seller she would be back to get the tickets and would leave money for the seller in the form of a deposit. One seller said he was keeping in regular touch with police as the same woman kept stealing lottery tickets from other blind sellers. He says he is afraid the suspect may hurt him because he filed a police report against her.

Police say Sumali has stolen about 450 tickets, valued at over 45,000 baht. They say she has stolen tickets at Victory Monument, Payathai, and Bang Na train stations in Bangkok.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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Crime

American man arrested in Chiang Mai for allegedly killing pregnant Thai wife

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Photo via Siam Rath

An American man has been arrested for allegedly murdering his pregnant, Thai wife and hiding her body in a rubbish bin. Police say 32 year old Jason Matthew Balzer then dumped his deceased wife’s body in a field in northern Thailand. 32 year old Pitchaporn Kidchob’s mother became concerned for her daughter’s welfare after seeing Balzer flee their home on a motorbike. She then went inside the home to check on her daughter and found multiple bloodstains throughout the house.

After her mother notified police, they checked CCTV cameras and saw Balzer fleeing the area. They gathered a team of officers and sniffer dogs to go out looking for Pitchaporn’s body in a field about 15 kilometres from their house. There, they found her body stuffed inside a garbage bag. A report by Siam Rath says police arrested Balzer yesterday afternoon in the Hang Dong district of Chiang Mai, who then confessed to killing his wife and dumping her body.

Balzer moved to Thailand in 2019 after being previously charged in the state of Colorado in America for attempted murder at the age of 30. A report from TimesCall.com included details from the incident:

“The woman said she was sleeping in her bedroom when Balzer came in and wanted to have sex. The woman said she was tired, and Balzer became angry and took her phone.

She said Balzer then grabbed her arms and squeezed then and then hit her in the face and slammed her head into the bed’s headboard five times, according to the affidavit.

She told police Balzer then grabbed a revolver out of a desk drawer in the room and pointed it at her head saying, “I will kill you.” The woman was able to push the gun to the side, at which point it went off next to her head. She was able to get the gun away from Balzer and threw it under the bed.

The woman said that while Balzer tried to begin covering up the bullet hole in the wall, she fled to a neighbor’s house.

When police responded to the apartment, they found a fresh drywall patch in the ceiling and bullet damage to the kitchen floor, kitchen ceiling, bedroom floor and mattress. An officer also found the revolver under the bed.”

Balzer was arrested on suspicion of attempted, second-degree murder, felony menacing, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, criminal mischief, obstruction of telephone use, tampering with physical evidence, criminal tampering, domestic violence, and aiming a firearm at a person.

It is not known what type of visa Balzer obtained to enter Thailand. Police say he is in custody and is waiting to be transferred back to Nan province after fleeing to Chiang Mai.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

 

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