Since 1960, prostitution is illegal and criminally prosecutable, with prison sentences of up to 20 years. It is estimate that about 100,000 to 400,000 people are sex workers in Thailand.
Organizations and activist groups advocating for the rights of sex workers in Thailand have emerged to address these issues.
Premier Srettha Thavisin has pledged to work for the parliamentary ratification of three distinct laws to legalize gender choice, homosexual marriage, and legalized prostitution next year. The previous military-backed administration of General Prayut had authorized all topics in principle, but they got bogged down in committee work and the difficult run-up to the general election in 2023.
The homosexual reform will alter Section 1448 of the civil and criminal laws, enabling marriage in Thailand for both men and women. It is implied that homosexual couples will have all legal rights accorded to heterosexual couples, including those related to pensions and adoption. There is still uncertainty surrounding same-sex marriages between Thai nationals and foreigners.
Adult prostitution will become legal for the first time since the 1960s because sex workers, whether they are male or female, will be treated as professionals with the same rights and obligations as any other Thais employed lawfully. It is yet unclear how the law would affect go-go clubs and other nighttime entertainment establishments in Thailand, as well as how they will operate.
The third measure addresses gender identity and requires official documents (such as passports and ID cards) to recognize a person’s gender identification, regardless of whether they identify as male, female, or anything else. Srettha stated that he plans to advocate for the concurrent passage of all three significant reforms under a single category. The three concerns will undoubtedly pass parliament because the major parties, Move Forward and Pheu Thai, have already pledged to support the reforms. After the laws are modified, Thailand will have the most lenient legal system in Asia for the mentioned topics.