Empower works with sex workers in Thailand
Sex workers make up most of the leadership of Empower and fill key positions. In addition sex workers regularly critique, suggest and guide Empower's activities and advocacy.
Sex work is criminalised in Thailand. This provides opportunities for others to exploit this criminalisation e.g. extortion by corrupt police and other authorities, non-compliance with labour laws by employers, access to funding by other NGO's in the name of 'helping'. Sex workers work and live on top of a mountain of laws. In addition the State neglects the rights of sex workers usually providing persecution but not protection under the law. The stigma attached to sex work is a major issue for all sex workers and we have to bear the added stigma of being a 'criminal'.
Education: We provide education for society about human rights, justice and sex work from our collective experience. In addition we provide sex workers with access to education e.g. literacy, languages, school qualifications, skills. Health: We help teach society and health providers about good practises. Sex workers also share women's health knowledge and referrals with each other. Empower's main health projects concentrate on Occupation Health and Safety e.g. Can Do Bar - our working model of safe fair sex work. Community: Empower is part of and central to the sex worker community. We use our space to celebrate, mourn, play, eat and organise together. Advocacy: We use art and performance to strengthen our advocacy.