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Draft prostitution law to set voluntary service at minimum 20 years


A COMMITTEE drafting a new law governing prostitution has agreed that voluntary sexual service without any criminal penalties should be allowed from 20 years of age, Matichon newspaper said this afternoon (Mar. 3).

Ms. 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.

Focus group hearings too were held before a conclusion was reached and a proposal tabled to Social Development and Human Security Minister Juti Krairiksh that a new law on prostitution be implemented.

It is initially called the Draft Act for the Protection of Sexual Services B.E. … and is planned to replace the current Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, B.E. 2539 (1996).

The focus is on protecting voluntary prostitutes with the minimum age for offering sexual service being 20 years without any criminal punishment.

They 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.

Parents who know of such acts taking place would also face penalties as would those who detain, abuse, torture or threaten and force people to enter prostitution.

Initially the new law would not allow migrant workers to join prostitution.

Jintana said the next step is to study which other laws will be affected by the new prostitution law and work out the social and economic impact including maintaining the country’s image.

The committee studied prostitution laws in other countries and adopted New Zealand’s law abolishing the crime of prostitution as a model.

This draft law is expected to be completed and will be tabled to the new government around August this year.

In New Zealand, the government fully decriminalised sex work in 2003, making it legal for any citizen aged 18 or over to buy or sell sexual services.


Amstedam’s red light district. Top photo: public domain picture at Pixabay, Front Page image by Alan De La Cruz from Pixabay

Insert: Ms Jintana Chanbamroong, the head of the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development. Photo: Matichon

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