Sex workers in Thailand have launched a petition calling for prostitution to be decriminalised and urging authorities to remove all penalties for selling and buying sex.
Empower Foundation, a group that supports sex workers, said it hoped to collect
10,000 signatures and present the petition to parliament to help persuade lawmakers.
Sex work is commonplace in Thailand and is generally tolerated but anti-prostitution laws are still on the law book and are occasionally revisited when the
authorities fancy a crackdown or else the police fancy a donation.
Women and LGBT+ rights activists say the current law, which made prostitution illegal in 1960, does little to protect sex workers, while repeated arrests and fines for doing sex work
has driven them further into poverty.
Thailand's extensive sex industry, largely caters to Thai men, but attracts international attention via go-go bars and massage parlours that cater for foreign visitors. A 2014 report by the U.N. agency fighting
AIDS estimated that there were 123,530 sex workers in Thailand but advocacy groups put the figure at more than twice that number.
Adult prostitution is currently punishable by a fine of up to 40,000 baht ($1,274) or two years in prison, or both.
More than 24,000 people were arrested, prosecuted and fined for sex work-related offences in Thailand last year, according to the Thai Police.
Prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation. Commercial sexual exploitation persists as a result of how women are viewed by society.
The Scottish Government's
definition of gender based violence is clearly set out in Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls:
Gender based violence is a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of
male power and privilege. It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of
liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. It is men who predominantly carry out such violence, and women who are predominantly the victims of such violence. By referring to violence as 'gender based' this definition highlights the need to
understand violence within the context of women's and girl's subordinate status in society. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms, social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence
women's vulnerability to violence
Equally Safe Priority 4 states the Scottish Government's priority to ensure men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and
effective response. This violence includes the violence perpetrated by men in relation to acts of commercial sexual exploitation, of which prostitution is one aspect.
The consultation is being taken forward under Equally Safe and
fulfils the 2019-20 Programme for Government commitment to consult on approaches to challenge men's demand for prostitution, continue to support work to reduce the harms associated with commercial sexual exploitation and help women to exit prostitution.
The aim of the consultation is to gather views on how best to challenge men's demand for prostitution in Scotland, reducing the harms associated with prostitution and supporting women involved to exit. The consultation paper
invites views from a wide range of readers including key stakeholders, statutory partners, those who work in the sector to challenge men's demand for prostitution, support women and those who may have lived experience to help inform the development of
future approaches to prostitution in Scotland.
Sex workers in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in other northern jurisdictions, filed court cases to force local officials to lift a coronavirus ban on sex workers.
On Tuesday, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia
agreed that with similar close contact businesses open, there was no rationale to keep brothels closed. The court found no clear evidence that one-on-one sexual activity carried a higher risk of transmission than indoor gatherings of up to 150 people,
which are allowed under Germany's current coronavirus health regulations .
While sex workers in North Rhine-Westphalia -- whose capital is Dusseldorf and largest city is Cologne -- may return to work this week, their counterparts in Hamburg and
Bremen, where courts also overturned the ban, may resume their activities on September 15.
But the court ruling did not come soon enough for Cologne's Pascha mega-brothel, which according to a Mirror newspaper report , was so devastated by the
shutdown that it has now filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors, putting 100 sex workers and dozens of support staff in the 11-story facility out of work.
Britain's sex industry is still far from normal as prostitutes slowly start to work the streets again and brothels begin reopening in the wake of lockdown. But demand from Brits is not what it was before the pandemic, as many appear hesitant to get their
Laura Watson has been involved with the English Collective of Prostitutes for 10 years. The group represent sex worker across the country. She explained that:
There are still clients out there -- during
lockdown that obviously decreased and it is not like it is anything near normal, but there is a demand out there. It's women's need for money that fuels the industry -- women go into it for financial aid.
It was reported that just
one-in-three sex workers continued to meet up face to face during lockdown. Others took their business online using web cams.
Research on one adult website showed that thousands of escorts and sex workers are now listing themselves as available. One
website appeared to have 21,827 escorts on its books. And there were 10,000 in London alone, with other popular areas including 1,341 in Manchester and 1,630 in Birmingham.
It hasn't gone back to
normal in that women have put whatever safety procedures they can in place. All the measures that the Government have deemed safe, including social distancing when they can, and the general measures have been mainly implicated. I think women are trying
their best to keep as safe as possible. It's understood that some women have used paper bed sheets and extra sanitisers in a bid to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
The Dutch government coalition partner party, CDA wants paying for sex to become a punishable offence.
CDA MP Anne Kuik is tabling a motion asking the cabinet for a ban. She claims that prostitution turns women into a product to be bought and that is
something that can no longer be tolerated in this day and age.
Kuik is proposing the Netherlands follow in the footsteps of Sweden which criminalised paid sex in 1999. The Swedish government claims that by prosecuting punters but not prostitutes
street prostitution has been halved within a decade.
It is reported that the CDA call is unlikely to win over coalition partners D66 and VVD who are against the measure, saying it would drive prostitution underground.
MPs will also discuss
a citizen initiative by Christian youth movement Exxpose which has gathered over 50,000 signatures in support of measures to curb prostitution.
A Canadian publisher says that offering some relief to coronavirus hit sex workers will be good business. MediaCentral, the Ontario-based company that publishes NOW Magazine in Toronto and Georgia Straight in Vancouver announced this week that it will
resume running adult classified ads in those publications.
In the United States the 2018 FOSTA/SESTA law has effectively banned the online classifieds market by unfairly holding platforms liable for third-party content that could be construed as
promoting sex trafficking.
But in Canada, MediaCentral says that it expects to take in $2 million (US $1.5 million) annually from the resumption of adult classifieds, which it shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
eliminating adult advertising, NOW generated strong sales from its Adult Classifieds Category. The Straight has continued to offer adult advertising over the years, but the category was temporarily suspended during the height of COVID. The
company's CEO Brian Kalish said in a statement: w
We expect this re-launch to drive strong sales numbers alongside our newly revamped and fully integrated sales platforms. Our decision to bring back the classifieds is
part of our strategic path to creating sustainable, profitable publications.
Sex workers in Germany are appealing to politicians to ease coronavirus restrictions that have prevented them from working during the pandemic. Sex workers have taken their complaints to the streets, in demonstrations in Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and
There are growing reports of sex workers being subjected to violence, underpayment and being forced to compromise their health because of clients' demands during meetings in non-formal settings.
This week, Berlin's government appeared
to give way to their demands after announcing a graduated return to sexual services without intercourse. From 1 September, intercourse will be allowed to take place between sex workers and their clients in the German capital, but only under strict
hygiene regulations. Sex workers operating in Germany's 15 other states hope the governments there will soon follow suit.
The Federal Association of Erotic and Sex Services has accused lawmakers of failing to address the concerns of sex workers
because of the stigma attached to the industry, while giving hairdressers, tattoo parlours, massage and beauty salons, fitness studios, saunas and swinger clubs the green light to reopen weeks ago. They point out that in neighbouring Switzerland,
the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic, brothels are being allowed to operate again.
German authorities have been stepping up their efforts to fine in-country sex workers for posting sexually explicit content on open online platforms like Twitter, forcing them to take down posts on the U.S.-based -- and Free Speech-protected -- sites.
Jessica Klein of Daily Dot explained that the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media makes it illegal to distribute pornography to which minors have access.
Government censors from a confusing patchwork of censorship bodies in
state and local governments have been using that legislation to target sex workers who post sexual content on open platforms like Twitter without an age-verification firewall.
The Daily Dot interviewed Bodil Diederichsen, who works with the
Medienanstalt Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein (MA HSH), a regional media censor. Diederichsen was unusually candid about the official efforts to censor sex workers, and said that her unit mainly work off tips, getting notifications from the public about
possibly offending content, which also includes hate speech and other violations, before researching it themselves. Ultimately, the German censors target the posters themselves, with threats of hefty fines. Presumably this avchieves more than try to get
Twitter to do the censorship.
German law allows the posting on explicit content to what they call a closed user group (i.e., behind some kind of age-verification wall). But in the case of Twitter, the process is at the discretion of these local
censorship bodies, like MA HSH.
A Cambodian proposal to ban girls wearing short skirts and men's shirtless has been tabled in parliament. MPs supporting this proposal have claimed that this will not only stop the increasing sexual violence in society but also strengthen Cambodian
culture. If this resolution is passed in Parliament, the local police will get the right to take legal action against those wearing such clothes.
If the proposal gets approval from many Cambodian government ministries and the national parliament, it
will be implemented from early 2021. After this, if a man appears shirtless in public places or a woman / girl in short skirt, then they will be fined.
Canada's province of British Columbia have issued guidelines recommending the use of glory holes as a method of COVID-safe sex.
Previously New York guidelines suggested the use of barriers to avoid risky, face-to-face contact during sex, B.C. health
officials have specifically recommended glory holes to allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.
The B.C. health officials say that sexual partners should wear facial masks during their activities specifically because heavy
breathing during sex can create more droplets that may transmit COVID-19.
Amsterdam is banning the sale of alcohol in shops in the Red Light District over the weekend, in an attempt to restrict crowds in the popular area. More enforcement officers will be deployed to make sure everyone is adhering to social distancing. And day
trippers and tourists will be urged to avoid crowds with targeted ads on their social media.
Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam said:
We are taking these measures because we are responsible for the health of
residents and visitors. This includes an urgent appeal to everyone who visits our city, be careful, avoid crowds, and follow the corona rules. It is very important that everyone keeps their distance from each other, both the Amsterdammer and the
international tourist. On the street and in the catering industry. Only together can we prevent new outbreaks of the virus. A new lockdown is the last thing we want.
The sale of alcohol in Red Light District shops will be banned from
4:00 p.m. on Thursday until midnight on Sunday. According to the security region, alcohol bought from these stores is often consumed on the street.
Pornography websites are among the most well trafficked in the world, attracting an even greater number of visitors than household names such as Netflix, Amazon and Reddit, new research has found.
According to analysis from web hosting company
Fasthosts, Xvideos and Pornhub are the two most popular adult entertainment websites , receiving an average of 3.1 and 2.9 trillion monthly visitors respectively. The two pornography giants outrank Amazon (2.3 trillion), Netflix (2.2 trillion) and Reddit
(1.3 trillion), highlighting the sheer scale of the modern pornography industry.
According to Fasthosts, the top ten busiest websites in the world consist almost exclusively of search engines and social media sites. Google is by far the most popular,
attracting 78.6 trillion visitors per month - more than twice as many as any other website. YouTube takes second spot on the list with 29.3 trillion monthly visitors, followed by Facebook with 23.5 trillion.
According to the PornHub Insights blog,
traffic to the website increased dramatically in mid-March, coinciding with the introduction of coronavirus lockdown measures across the globe. At its peak on March 25, PornHub traffic was 23% higher than the usual average and remained between 10-20%
above average throughout May.
A new law criminalizing payment for sexual services took effect in Israel last week. A new survey by Tel Aviv University found that nearly one in every three Israeli men say they have paid for sex at least one time in their lives, and one in six say that
they have paid on multiple occasions.
Sex work has long been legalized in Israel 204 but most of the activities that make professional sex work possible are not. Operating a brothel and pimping are outlawed in the country of about 8.8 million, and in
January of last year, Israel's Knesset, or parliament, passed a new law making the payment of money for sexual services a crime.
That law finally took effect on July 10 of this year. Not only is paying for sex illegal under the new law, but even
seeking the services of a sex worker can now be punished by a fine ranging from the equivalent of $530 for a first offense, to a maximum of $20,400 for repeat offenses, according to a report by The Times of Israel .
In fact, the law now makes it
illegal even to be caught in a place where sexual services are offered, such as a brothel.
Pornhub is offering free ad space to small companies that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The website has announced its Big Package project -- a relief initiative to help small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The adult site is
offering companies with 100 employees or less the chance to create a series of customised ads to feature (for free) on the website. A selection of 100 businesses will be awarded one billion ad impressions, harnessing Pornhub's 130 million daily users.
Germany has been releasing most businesses from coronavirus lockdown but the country's sex work industry remains banned. Brothels and similar sex-related businesses have been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic -- though other close-contact
businesses such as nail salons and massage therapy parlors have been permitted to reopen.
In response, a group of sex workers in Berlin staged a protest on Friday, wielding an inflatable sex doll outside the Bundesrat, the upper house of Germany's
parliament. The protesters also brandished placards with slogans including, Let us work, Open the brothels now , and Our sector is being driven underground.
The Federal Association for Erotic and Sex Services, a trade association and
lobbying group for the sex industry, said that the sex workers seem to have been forgotten by politicians. The trade group called the continued shutdown of the sex industry incomprehensible in view of the developments in other sectors.
Mia Khalifa says she regrets the adult films she made at 21, and now almost 1.5 million people have signed a petition demanding they are taken down from porn sites.
Khalifa made 11 videos during her three months as a porn star in 2014. Despite
retiring from the adult industry six years ago, her videos - for which she says she was paid $12,000 - remain extremely popular in places such as Pornhub and she is one of the site's most searched-for performers.
A video in which the Christian Mia
wore a hijab, which she claims she was pressured into doing, has gotten her death threats from ISIS.
Mia's supporters recently created a Change.org petition demanding the films be taken down from porn sites. Titled Justice for Mia Khalifa, it has
attracted more than 1,392,000 signatures.