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The Rights of Sex Workers:
 29 September 2021

Thailand will be reviewed by UN Member States on all its human rights record during its Third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) taking place on 10 November 2021 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (39th Session of the UPR Working Group).

To tell the truth behind #WhatsHappeningInThailand and to guarantee Recommending States make SMART recommendations that will hold the Thai government accountable on its international human rights obligations and will improve the situation on the ground, Manushya Foundation, local community members of the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR and the Thai BHR Network, and partner Civil Society Organizations have prepared UPR Advocacy Factsheets addressing the most challenging human rights issues and providing community-led UPR recommendations to be made to the Thai government.

The UPR Factsheet on The Rights of Sex Workers was prepared by Manushya Foundation, on the basis on the Joint UPR Submission on the Rights of Marginalized Women with EMPOWER Foundation, the Women’s Workers for Justice Group (WJG), the Thai Positive Women Foundation (TPWF), the Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand (IWNT), the Health & Opportunity Network (HON), and the Amnat Charoen Friend of Women Center.

The UPR Factsheet examines the compliance of Thailand with the recommendations it received during its 2nd UPR cycle in relation to The Rights of Sex Workers. During its 2nd UPR cycle, Thailand received one recommendation by Finland directly addressing rights of sex workers, which it supported. The government committed to “increase its efforts to ensure the right to the highest attainable standards of health also to sex workers by ensuring them access to healthcare and services and comprehensive sexuality education.” The government also received 30 recommendations related to prevention of discrimination and protection of marginalized groups, of which it supported 28 and noted two. However, as sex workers continue to be criminalized and are subject to stigma, violence, exploitation, discrimination, and marginalization in their daily lives and at the workplace, the government failed to implement all of the recommendations

This factsheet addresses the challenges and issues that persist regarding The Rights of Sex Workers include: 


  • Criminalization of sex work

  • Sex workers are denied labor protection under Thai law, which subjects them to exploitative working conditions and unfair employment practices

  • Sex workers face abuse, violence, and harassment at the hands of the police and clients

The UPR Factsheet includes community-led UPR recommendations for Recommending States to use when making their UPR recommendations to the Thai government and ensure their recommendations address the needs of local communities on the ground. It is critical for diplomats to make recommendations that are directly coming from communities to improve the human rights situation on the ground; as communities are experts of their issues: they live with the challenges and they also know the solutions they need to advance their human rights.

Learn more about our work with UN Human Rights Mechanisms (Click here)

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