Due to Covid-19 the government has ordered closures of entertainment places which means that over 100,000 sex worker across Thailand are out of a job.
In emergencies women are often the ones who do the work of caring for others. Yet this work is not recognized, nor compensated or supported. For example, even though entertainment places are reported to earn around 6.4 billion dollars per year and sex workers create 4-10% of the GDP. Sex workers are criminalized and left out of labour protection and social security. The closure order affects sex workers who now have no income at all. Sex workers are ready to help society, but also still must pay their rent, live and care for their family.
This government has focused on arresting and enforcing, never supporting. The labour law has never protected these women even though we contribute greatly to the economy. There are some women who are under the social security scheme; those working for larger businesses who have proper working hours such as beer girls, karaoke girls and such. But freelancers and women working in bars are often left out in the cold.
Instead of that money going into the government’s coffers, it should be given to the sex workers the criminals exploited in the first place. That sum of money would reach all 300,000 of us. Ensuring these women’s survival should be the job of the government as they are the ones who have ordered the closure which has affected our income.