Thailand: Sex Workers ‘Help To Reduce Rape’

Sep 28, 2013
Sex Crimes
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Pol Col Napanwut Liamsanguan said sex workers are often people without hope who can only rely on themselves to make money.

But he added that without sex workers there would be more crime and rape problems.

”This is not something disgusting; it is basic human nature,” Pol Col Napanwut told Spectrum in an interview on street prostitution.

”It is possible to get rid of all of the sex workers from our country, but what would happen then? There will be many more problems in the future.

”There will be more rape cases. We can’t deny that sex workers are part of our society.”

Pol Col Napanwut was interviewed as part of an investigation into ”ghost” sex workers, street walkers who often disguise themselves as food and alcohol vendors and sell themselves to low-income earners.

The women charge as little as 200 baht and operate mainly in Klong Lot, Sanam Luang, Lumpini Park and the Wong Wian 22 July roundabout near Chinatown.

Chantawipa Abhisuk, director of the Empower Foundation which campaigns for the rights of sex workers, said there was no correlation between prostitution and rape.

”The belief that prostitution can help reduce rape cases in society is just a misunderstanding,” Ms Chantawipa said.

”There are still many rape cases in our society and they are usually perpetrated by someone close to the victims, not by some total stranger.”

Surang Janyam, director of the Service Workers in Group Foundation which aims to help improve the lives of sex workers, said she  was disappointed to hear a police officer offer such an opinion.

She said police should instead focus on enforcing the law against abusive people.

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”The life of a human being is worth more than being an object for anyone to rape or abuse,” Ms Surang said.

”No one should be the person on whom another person releases their sexual frustration. We should look at service workers as equal to everyone else.”

Pol Col Napanwut said police conduct raids on the freelance street walkers every three months, but these are more about monitoring the sex trade than intimidation.

Usually the women are fined and then released immediately, he said. The maximum penalty is 1,000 baht.

”Technically, the police just penalize them and let them go,” he said. ”The penalty in each area is different [as it is up to police discretion].

”In the area around the Grand Palace, for instance, the fine for each sex worker is around 200-300 baht.”

In the past 11 months there have been 936 arrests in the Bangkok sub-division for street-walking prostitution, according to Children and Women’s Protection Unit figures.

While it is also an offense for a customer to engage the services of a prostitute, no client has ever been arrested, Pol Col Napanwut said.

Source

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