A Thai government committee drafting a new law governing prostitution has agreed that voluntary sexual service without any criminal penalties should be allowed from sex workers of 20 years of age or greater.
Jintana Chanbamroong, head of the
Department of Women's Affairs and Family Development at Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said after presiding over a meeting of the committee drafting the new law that public hearings both online and on-site were held in five cities
including Bangkok, Chonburi and Hat Yai. It is initially called the Draft Act for the Protection of Sexual Services B.E. 206 and is planned to replace the current Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act from 1996.
Sex workers will have
rights and be entitled to welfare in the labour system without being identified as a sex worker. They will also have the right to fair compensation but must undergo health checks to ensure they are not infected with any contagious diseases. However
prostitution that falls in the category of human trafficking, such as procurement or coercion, would still be a violation of the Human Trafficking Act.
Brothel operators will be required to not violate the conditions for protecting service
providers who are their employees and only operate in specific zones, particularly not near educational institutions or places of worship. Also will be stipulated is that it is prohibited to engage in sexual relations with prostitutes under 20 years of
age with those procuring and luring them into prostitution too being liable for criminal penalties.
This draft law is expected to be completed and will be tabled to the new government around August this year.
Update: Bill being drafted
16th March 2023. See article from thethaiger.com The Thai
government is now drafting a bill to legalise sex work to protect sex workers from exploitation. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) has proposed the bill, which will also limit the minimum age to provide or buy the service
According to Narong Jaihan, a lecturer from the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University, sex workers under 20 will not be penalised, but legal action will be taken against business operators who employ them underage, as well as their parents.