In response to a new COVID-19 surge in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has now ordered already-struggling sex workers to shut down their businesses for at least the next two weeks.
A spokesperson for the sex worker lobbying group Red Light
United told DutchNews:
It is very quiet in the red light district, there are no tourists and hardly anyone on the streetsMany of our workers are in enormous financial difficulty.
announced the new lockdown on Tuesday, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the business restrictions would include sex clubs, but not other close-contact businesses, such as hair salons.
It's going to be a bleak winter for
Europe. But for sex workers, a group that feels it's been forgotten during the pandemic, the return of lockdowns doesn't just mean being out of work, it could also mean being once again cut off from vital health services. As the first wave of coronavirus
hit the Continent, many countries implemented complete bans on sex work.
Thai media is reporting that many users of the porn video sharing website Pornhub were unable to access the site since Monday.
The Thai authorities have banned 191 URLs of porn websites and have instructed Thai ISPs to block users from accessing the
censored websites. The news service Manager reported that this was the action of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry. Manager said that the DE would soon be banning many gambling websites too.
The censorship seems to be implemented by
compromising the negotiation of HTTPS encryption certificates leading to the illustrated error message which will vary from browser to browser.
Thai internet users will will surely now be researching methods to evade the ban, such as by using the
TOR browser or installing a VPN. However it must be said that ISPs can still throttle the bandwidth for unrecognised video even when they don't see where the video is coming from. (I spotted this when using VPNs on a 3BB connection).
Thailand's internet users are revolting over their government's recent censorship of major porn tubes websites.
On Twitter, the hastag #SavePornhub trended in Thailand with the majority of post speaking out against the censorship.
group called Anonymous Party said:
We want to reclaim Pornhub. People are entitled to choices.
A few dozen brave activists protested outside Thailand's digital ministry, holding banners saying free Pornhub
and reclaim Pornhub.
Internet research firm Top10VPN said it saw a spike in searches from Thailand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which help circumvent censorship.
Thailand's government has faced months of youth and student-led protests
demanding the removal of military ruler/Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, as well as reforms to reduce King Maha Vajiralongkorn's powers.
A Thailand language hashtag that translates as #HornyPower is trending on Thai Twitter with comments that the
censorship will only add to the number of people angry with the current elite. eg tweeting:
If someone doesn't hate the current military government, now they probably do.
Emilie Pradichit, director
of the Manushya Foundation, which campaigns for digital rights, said the decision showed Thailand was a land of digital dictatorship, with conservatives in power trying to control what young people can watch, can say and can do online.
A pornban that has taken effect in
Thailand is driving a massive surge in VPN usage as citizens seek out ways to continue to access their favorite services.
According to Atlas VPN data, VPN installs in the country surged by 644% following the confirmation that 191 adult websites -
including popular platform Pornhub - will no longer be available to citizens.
Despite the meteoric growth of the VPN industry in recent years, the privacy service was not particularly popular in Thailand prior to the ban, with only 1.17% of the
population downloading a VPN in the first half of 2020.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has published a report on decriminalising sex work. The ACLU writes:
The ACLU's Research Brief, Is Sex Work Decriminalization the Answer? What the Research Tells Us, reviews
existing empirical research on the impacts of decriminalization -- and conversely criminalization -- of sex work to inform recommendations for policy and practice. The ACLU has a history of supporting the decriminalization of sex work, but as efforts for
U.S. legislative reform at the local, state, and federal level grow, examining the potential impacts of proposed policies is critical. Developed in consultation with local affiliates and sex worker organizers, this Brief provides an assessment of the
growing evidence base on the potential benefits and harms of the decriminalization of consensual sex work (including buyer-only criminalization and full criminalization) and concludes with specific recommendations for policymakers, law enforcement,
advocates, and researchers.
The report concludes with the following recommendations, starting with:
Decriminalize all consensual sex work, including prostitution, among adults. Fully decriminalize by eliminating all criminal penalties for sellers and buyers. Also remove all criminal penalties for youth who participate in sex
work, but not for adults who exploit youth. Decriminalization should include a retroactive component, permitting expungement of criminal records.
Eliminate unwanted police presence within the sex work community.
Support sex workers and listen to the recommendations of community organizers who lead sex work decriminalization groups and grassroots organizations.
Decline to prosecute charges related to consensual sex