“Nack” has been working in the sex industry for over 10 years. She charges 1,000 baht ($30) per trick and averages 15 clients a month. Nack supplements her income with part time work at an outreach organization for the transgender community.
A note from Dredge Kang, researcher of LGBT studies at Emory University: “Sex work is work” is the slogan of sex work activists. While there are those who are indentured or forced to pay off debts, this is not usually the case in Thailand – especially for gay men and transgender women.
The interpretation that selling sex is not a choice generally argues that sex workers are forced into it. This denies that they have the free will to make decisions on their own and for their own interests.
The biggest problem for sex workers is not their work doing sex but the social stigma of sex work, having other people constantly say that it is not a legitimate form of labor. What is needed is the ability of sex workers to work in safe environments: free from police harassment or client abuse and the ability to practice safer sex, not to be “saved” by those who want to protect them.
Learn more about the life of transgender sex workers here: https://apnsw.wordpress.com/tag/transgender-health-handbook/
Produced by Amarasa Yau Wazzin
Music composed by Jesper Isström
In Association with Sisters Center for Transgender in Pattaya & Hong Kong Transgender Migrants Sex Workers Network. Thanks to Dredge Kang, Siri Puff, Pete P. and the Red Umbrella Fund