Minimum age, minimum wage and other protections, along with licensing of operators
A bill to protect sex workers is being drafted to legalise the profession in a bid to prevent them from exploitation.
The bill, drafted by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, would legalise sex work and limit the minimum age to provide or buy such services, said Narong Jaihan, a lecturer from the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University.
The ministry will submit the proposal to the new government for approval after the election in May. It would lead to the scrapping of the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act 1996.
Sex workers under age 20 would not be prosecuted, but legal action would be taken against people who employ underage sex workers, as well as their parents, Mr Narong said.
The draft bill stipulates that payment for such services must be at an appropriate rate — not based on the minimum wage law — and that sex workers are required to regularly undergo physical checks to ensure their health and safety.
Operators of sex service businesses in Bangkok would be required to register with the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and those elsewhere would have to register with provincial governors. They would receive three-year licences, renewable if they abide by the law.
If sex workers are forced to provide services against their will, this would be considered human trafficking, Mr Narong said. A protection centre will be established to prevent violence that may occur against sex workers.
“This bill will prevent sex workers from being exploited and ensure they will be given protection,” he said.