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EMPOWER

Organization information
Formation1985
TypeNGO
Purposesupport of sex workers
Region servedThailand
Founder and DirectorChantawipa Apisuk

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EMPOWER ("Education Means Protection Of Women Engaged in Recreation"), also known as Centre for Sex Workers' Protection or Moolniti Songserm Okard Pooying ( ), is a non-profit organisation in Thailand that supports sex workers by offering free classes in language, health, law and pre-college education as well as individual counseling. The organisation also lobbies the government to extend regular labour protections to sex workers and to legalize prostitution.

EMPOWER was founded in 1985 by Chantawipa Apisuk; she still serves as the organisation's director and runs the head office in Nonthaburi Province. The organisation maintains centers in Patpong (Bangkok), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Sai and Patong Beach, Phuket.

Unlike most Thai organisations operating in this field, EMPOWER takes a neutral stance towards sex work and does not pressure people to leave the trade. Partly because of this, EMPOWER receives little financial support from the Thai government; the bulk of the donations come from abroad.

In 2003 the organisation published a report stating that many anti-trafficking organisations failed to recognize the important difference between migrant sex workers and women forced to prostitute themselves against their will. They documented a May 2003 "raid and rescue" operation on a brothel in Chiang Mai that was carried out by TRAFCORD with support by the International Justice Mission (IJM). The operation was carried out without the consent of the sex workers and resulted in numerous human rights violations. IJM subsequently ended its countertrafficking work in Thailand. Chantawipa Apisuk has said that in her opinion these raids and the following arrests and stigmatization only worsen the situation of most prostitutes.

At the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok in 2004, EMPOWER set up a mock go go bar complete with a dancer to highlight efforts to increase condom use among sex workers; this was criticised by then Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan.

Shortly after the tsunami of December 2004, EMPOWER opened their office in Patong Beach, Phuket and published a report estimating that over 2,000 sex workers had died and lamenting the lack of support for migrant sex workers affected by the flood. In September 2005 they started a radio programme for sex workers in Phuket.

In 2006 EMPOWER opened a worker-owned bar in Chiang Mai, named "Can Do". It is intended as a model for exemplary working conditions in the industry, giving workers a day off per week and providing social security benefits.

EMPOWER publishes a Thai language newsletter called "Bad Girls" which allows sex workers to express themselves.

UNAIDS and UNDP announced at the XVII International AIDS Conference, 2008 in Mexico City that EMPOWER had received one of 25 Red Ribbon Awards. This award, designed to celebrate community leadership and action on AIDS, included a $5,000 stipend, allowing EMPOWER to participate at the conference.



EMPOWER Video

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Can empowering women end poverty? - The Guardian Tweet this news
The Guardian--Evidence has shown that by -empowering- women, you can increase their use of health and other services; improve their lives, the well-being of their children and the economic stability of their communities; and make governments more accounta - Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:47:06 GMT+00:00
Omnify Software Launches Next Generation Empower PLM Solution - SYS-CON Media (press release) Tweet this news
SYS-CON Media (press release)---New Browser-based platform: All -Empower- modules have been transitioned to web browser applications, completely eliminating any client installation and expanding operating system/platform support. -Significant performance - Date : Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:37:24 GMT+00:00
Online Art Auctions Empower Low-End Buyer - TheStreet.com (blog) Tweet this news
TheStreet.com (blog)--BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (TheStreet) -- Most people associate the high-end art market with the multimillion-dollar auctions and eight-figure acquisitions that make national headlines. But entry-level buyers and ... - Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:05:10 GMT+00:00
Electronic Eyeglasses for Those Aging in the Digital Age - The Consumerist Tweet this news
The Consumerist--In June, the Roanoke, Va., company will start selling its -emPower- eyeglasses, electronic eye-ware that lets wearers switch between differing prescriptionsone for close-up reading and one for distance viewing. The glasses use a thin lay - Date : Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:01:54 GMT+00:00
White House and Dem Leaders Enable, Ecourage & Empower Radical ... - Weasel Zippers Tweet this news
Weasel Zippers--But what is more chilling and more disturbing is to see how the White House and the Democrat leadership have aligned themselves and are -empowering- these radicals who are clearly bent on overturning our entire economic and political syste - Date : Wed, 20 Apr 2011 17:30:35 GMT+00:00
MemberClicks Introduces New Social Community Functionality - PR Newswire (press release) Tweet this news
PR Newswire (press release)--"By providing a robust online area for members to interact, organizations -empower- their members to further the organization's goals through the power of community," said Kevin Patrick, Director of Prod - Date : Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:06:08 GMT+00:00
Driscoll: Voter ID and voter intimidation - Milford Daily News Tweet this news
Milford Daily News--She also serves as treasurer and executive Director of -Empower- Massachusetts, one of the groups behind the controversy; she is also president of the Greater Boston Tea Party and Northeast Massachusetts field director of The Coalition - Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:03:34 GMT+00:00
PixelOptics adds new distributor - ModernMedicine Tweet this news
ModernMedicine--Roanoke, VAPixelOptics and Midland Laboratories of St. Louis, MO, have signed a distribution agreement that makes Midland Laboratories part of the -emPower- limited lab network in the United States. “This partnership ensures that PixelO - Date : Tue, 19 Apr 2011 17:19:45 GMT+00:00
Indaba empowers the youth - Joburg Tweet this news
Joburg--The main objective of yesterday's indaba was to -empower- and inform young people about business opportunities available to them once they had completed some training through the EPWP, explained the manager of service delivery in Region F, Ir - Date : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:23:41 GMT+00:00
Guj CM wants to empower tribal children - IBNLive.com Tweet this news
IBNLive.com--PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 15,2011 Dahod (Gujarat), Apr 15 (PTI) Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi today expressed his desire to -empower- tribal children by imparting knowledge of science among them."We have started schools in tribal are - Date : Fri, 15 Apr 2011 18:14:49 GMT+00:00



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