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Opening Exhibition “Sex Work is OUR Work” with Screening and Panel Discussion

5 November, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Prostitution is prevalent in every country in the world. Despite being extensively publicized in academic papers, documentaries, opinions or other media platforms, only few people realize about the lives of sex workers. Women who do sex work live and work on top of a mountain of social stigma and punitive laws. Laws which offer protections and benefits are withheld and sex workers are left to fend for themselves. The criminal law too often becomes a tool for corrupted officials to extort money and for employers to overlook the labor standards.

To highlight the right protection among sex workers in Southeast Asia, the Empower Foundation in collaboration with SEA Junction will hold a photo exhibition “Sex Work is OUR Work” on 5 – 17 November, from 11 am to 7 pm in the corner space 1st Fl of BACC. The exhibition focuses on” Can Do Bar”, an entertainment venue owned and managed by a group of sex workers from Empower in Chiang Mai and on the lives of the Bar’s employees.

The opening of the exhibition on 5 November at 6 pm will consist of the screening of a short film made by sex workers on sex workers in Thailand entitled “Last Rescue in Siam” followed by a panel discussion on the exhibition’s topic.

Exhibition Opening Agenda on 5 November 2019, 6 pm – 8 pm

  • Welcoming Remarks
    Rosalia Sciortino, Director SEA Junction and Associate Professor IPSR, Mahidol University
  • Film Screening – Last Rescue in Siam by Empower Foundation
  • Panel Discussion
    Liz Hilton, Member of Empower Foundation
    Thanta Laovilawayakul, Coordinator and sex worker’s leader of Empower Foundation
    Leo Villar, Independent Consultant
    Anna Olsen, Technical Specialist, ILO
  • Official opening on 1stFloor by photographer Jittrapon Kaicome

The exhibition and the panel discussion provide a unique opportunity to hear from and engage with the lived realities of sex work. It is a chance to consider and reconsider how the issue of prostitution is framed and what new approaches can be developed.

Photographer’s Short Bio

Jittrapon Kaicome

Jittrapon is an emerging Thai photographer, who has worked with sex workers of EMPOWER to create a photo series to make the work of sex work more visible. Apart from this, he has also actively engaged in displaying other social issues including environmental degradation and climate changes via multiple photo series.  For his online galleries, click https://www.jittraponkaicome.com/

Speakers’ Short Bios

Liz Hilton

Liz worked for Empower Foundation based in Chiang Mai for over 25 years. Though no longer working, she remains a core member of Empower and be part of the sex worker community.

Thanta Laovilawayakul

Thanta or better-known as Ping Pong is a sex worker leader and coordinator of Empower Foundation. With her over 20 years at Empower, she values for her health knowledge and performance skills.

Leo Villar

Leo is an independent consultant based in Bangkok. He has worked with several civil society organizations and UN agencies on issues including gender equality, women empowerment, migration, sex work, LGBTIQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS. He co-authored with Oliver Fisher and Anna Olsen the chapter on Working Conditions for Migrants in Thailand’s Sex Industry in the Thailand Migration Report 2019 of the United Nations Thematic Working Group on Migration in Thailand, edited by Benjamin Harkins.

Anna Olsen

Anna is the Technical Specialist with Tripartite Action to Enhance the Contribution of Labour Migration to Growth and Development in ASEAN project. In this role, she works on legal and policy development, assisting with capacity building activities, providing support in drafting of legislation to protect migrants and managing activities for providing direct support to migrant workers in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.

Photo courtesy of Jittrapon Kaicome

For Information/Reservation for our events please email southeastasiajunction@gmail.com or phone/wa +66970024140


NB: Events are free, but donation most welcome!



SEA Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia

SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions- from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners, and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajuction.org and join the Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693055870976440/


Empower Foundation   

Empower Foundation is one of the oldest and strongest sex worker movements in the world, based in Thailand. Started by Chantawipa Apisuk in 1985 Empower Foundation has decades of experience promoting rights and opportunities of sex workers and its activities have engaged more than 50,000 sex workers since its founding. Empower Foundation believes it is time to acknowledge that sex work is work, and that sex workers must have equal labor rights. For more information visit the online library https://www.empowerlibrary.online and Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Empower-today-695156470618537/


5 November, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


SEA Junction, Room 408, BACC
939 Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330 Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
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