Thai lawmakers drafted a law proposing legalizing involvement in prostitution for anyone aged 20 and over. The proposed law was initially called the Sexual Services Protection Bill. The proposed law is expected to replace the Prostitution Prevention and Eradication Law, passed in 1996, which criminalizes and punishes those involved in providing commercial sexual services. The goal is to make sex work safer.
I visited the famous Soi 7 in Pattaya, Thailand to see the atmosphere of the place first hand. Small streets filled with bars, hotels, food vendors and girls greeting all the tourists. Here I met Plai who works at Zombies Bar. She really hopes to get a good income for herself and her family. "I have a 4-year-old daughter. In a year I hope to return with 2,500 euros in my pocket and I want to build a house for the two of us and open a shop." Plai said.

We also met Talay and Rose, sisters from Ubon Ratchathani, on the Thailand - Cambodia border. “I previously worked as a chambermaid, as a waitress and as a cashier,” says 29-year-old Talay at the start of her shift at the Zombie Bar. She waits for customers in a see-through top and super tight pants. 'That work didn't yield enough to save.' According to Talay, toiling in the sun on a rice field, like her parents, yields even less. 'And that is at the expense of my beauty.' When her 19-year-old sister Rose became pregnant and the father ran away, the sisters decided to go to Pattaya together. 'We saw on TikTok that you can make a lot of money here.' Rose joins them, wearing an orange bikini that leaves the large tattooed wings on her chest exposed.
Some text translated from the original written by Noël van Bemmel, for de Volkskrant.
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