The Thai Women Behind the First Bar Run Entirely by a Sex Workers' Collective

The stereotype of trafficked Asian women exploited by sex tourists means that few people in the west expect Thai sex workers to be at the forefront of a radical push for sex workers' rights, but despite its slightly shabby, unassuming exterior, Can Do bar represents just that.

According to Liz Hilton, an Australian woman who originally joined Empower as an advocacy volunteer and has now been working with the organization for 23 years—so long that she sounds more comfortable speaking in Thai than in English—Can Do is the only bar in Thailand, if not the world, that is owned and run by a collective of sex workers, and designed to model exemplary working conditions in the industry.

"The Can Do bar came about because sex workers had been advocating for [workers' rights] and working under shitty conditions for years," Hilton explains. "One day a group of sex workers here in Chiang Mai said, 'Actually the government doesn't get it, nobody understands what we're talking about, we're going to have to build it ourselves, we can't wait anymore.' And so they pooled their money and raised a million baht [almost $30,000] between them all and created the bar."

Read the full article at Broadly

 

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