Last updated on: 4/1/2009 | Author:

Virada Somswasdi, JD Biography

President, Foundation for Women, Law and Rural Development (FORWARD)
Con to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“Thai society and the feminist movement have been bombarded with the (ir)rationality of economic greed, social ignorance and a patriarchal frame of thinking on the le- galization of prostitution. Feminist ideology and societal conscience are hence be- ing tested all over again. Basically, the issue of legalizing prostitution is twofold, i.e., the decriminalization of prostituted women and the legalization of prostitution or decriminalization of the sex industry. The first of these points perceives that the prostituted women are victimized, exploited and violated, and thus should not be punished; the second is about an acceptance of prostitution as work.

The efforts of all concerned should instead be to urgently focus on how to suppress prostitution, embrace gender equality, defend women’s human rights and support prostituted women to enable them to leave prostitution and to be provided with dignified and sustainable work.”

Speech at Cornell Law School, Mar. 9, 2004

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • President, Foundation for Women, Law and Rural Development (FORWARD)
  • Founding member, Asian Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APWLD), 1986-present
  • Founder and former Director, Women’s Studies program, Chiang Mai University
  • Associate Professor of Law, Chiang Mai University
  • Board of Trustees, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
  • Former activist and organizer, Women Lawyers’ Association
  • JD, Cornell University, 1974
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Legal Prostitution a Legitimate Business?
  2. Should People Have a Right to Become Prostitutes?