Thai Sex Workers Demand Legalization for Basic Rights: Statistics Reveal Thailand in Top 10 Countries for Sex Work


On May 1st, 2024, Thai national media reported Sex Worker Statistics by Country and Gender made by the International Union of Sex Workers on the occasion of Labor Day.

Sex workers in Thailand were fighting for the legalization of prostitution for their basic and occupational protection rights. It was reported that earlier this year (2024), Empower Foundation and sex worker representatives submitted a letter to various Thai political parties to demand basic rights and welfare from the government that should be equal to other occupations.

The bill was made and opened for opinions for more than five years from every sector. However, the story went unheard of from November 2023 for no reason. The sex worker representatives were worried that their efforts might be futile, said Ms. Chatchalawan Muangchan, the activist from Empower Foundation.

Thai national media showed Sex Worker Statistics by the International Union of Sex Workers ranking the first 20 countries in 2024. The original statistics were made on October 11th, 2023.

The top 10 countries rank according to the statistics could be rounded up as follows:

China 5,000,000 people, India 3,000,000 people, United States 1,000,000 people, Philippines 800,000 people, Mexico 500,000 people, Germany 400,000 people, Brazil 250,000 people, Thailand 250,000 people, Bangladesh 200,000 people, and South Korea 147,000 people.

Thailand was ranked in the top 10 countries to have sex workers. The number tended to increase considering that in the digital age, prostitutes could provide services on online platforms globally.

However, the statistics were not comprehensive as a massive number of sex workers were not surveyed and did not get the basic rights and welfare that they deserved, said the organizers.

Thailand recently passed through Parliament the Marriage Equality Act essentially allowing same-sex marriage and equal rights.

A draft bill for legalizing prostitution is under consideration but may face more significant opposition in Parliament than marriage equality. Officially speaking Thailand has often denied having prostitution and large red-light districts in places like Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket.

Activists are saying that pretending there is no prostitution makes the matter much worse and also leaves those involved in the industry subject to corrupt law enforcement and government officials in order to operate.

Even as recently as March, Thai police claimed a massive brawl near a red light area in Bangkok between over a hundred transgender individuals from Thailand and the Philippines was not related to prostitution and that there was no prostitution in that area, a claim that drew almost universal criticism and even outright disbelief on social media.

Prostitution remains, officially, illegal in Thailand….for now.

This article originally appeared on our sister website The Pattaya News.

Kittisak Phalaharn
Kittisak has a passion for outgoings no matter how tough it will be, he will travel with an adventurous style. As for his interests in fantasy, detective genres in novels and sports science books are parts of his soul. He works for Pattaya News as the latest writer.