Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Thai move to legalise prostitution

Thailand's official government think-tank is proposing to legalise the country's huge sex trade.

The National Economic and Social Development Board says it would reduce corruption and allow it to be taxed.

Prostitution is widespread in Thailand but it is a taboo subject for many Thai people, reports the South China Morning Post.

However, the board's secretary-general Chakramon Phasukavanich says just because prostitution is seen as morally wrong doesn't mean it is illegitimate or untaxable.

"The bigger the underground economy the more corruption there is," he said.

There has been no debate about making prostitution legal although it was only made a criminal offence around half a century ago.

Chantawipa Apisuk, leader of the Empower group which offers help to sex workers, said: "Legalising the sex trade would be an excellent thing to do.

"It would end decades of denial that has deprived countless thousands of women and men of their rights and very often their dignity."

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Created: April 13, 2003
Last modified: April 13, 2003
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