Coronavirus News Asia

Thai sex workers forced onto the street


A shutdown to contain the coronavirus has killed Thailand’s party scene and forced sex workers like Pim out of bars and onto desolate streets. She’s scared but desperately needs customers to pay her rent.

Red-light districts from Bangkok to Pattaya have gone quiet with night clubs and massage parlours closed and tourists blocked from entering the country.

That has left an estimated 300,000 sex workers out of a job, pressing some onto the streets where the risks are sharpened by the pandemic. 

“I’m afraid of the virus but I need to find customers so I can pay for my room and food,” Pim, a 32-year-old transgender sex worker, told AFP in an area of Bangkok where previously bawdy neon-lit bars and brothels have gone dark. 

Since Friday Thais have been under a 10pm to 4am curfew. Bars and eat-in restaurants closed several days earlier. 

Many of Bangkok’s sex workers had jobs in the relative safety of bars, working for tips and willing to go home with customers.  

When their workplaces suddenly closed most returned home to wait out the crisis.

Others like Pim went to work the streets.  



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