“Yet, still we dance!”

Sex Workers of ASEAN Art Exhibition, the opening ceremony . Photo cr. Sa_Nguan Khumrungroj

Sex Workers of ASEAN Art Exhibition, the opening ceremony . Photo cr. Sa_Nguan Khumrungroj

April 2, 2013 (Bangkok) – It was clear that “Stigma and Discrimination” impacts on the rights and lives of sex workers andtheir families in all ASEAN countries. This is the beginning of why sex worker groups in ASEAN countries have gathered and worked together to present their voice through their art works to ensure that governments think about people, not just profit and power.

In 2015 the one ASEAN Economic Community will be formed and some 600 million people willbe governed under common agreements and strategies on such issues as trade, tourism, migration, visas, HIV/Aids, and human rights. Yet sex workers throughout ASEAN are still undervalued and discriminated against in society and under the law. Sex workers are not given equal protections and benefits, are denied access to justice and their freedom of movement is often restricted whenever we try to travel or migrate.

“We need to find new ways to encourage recognition and positive change in society. We don’t have one common language and we have vibrant differences in our culture, we decided artwould be a good way to share our messages”, stated the group of ASEAN Sex workers in press release on “Yet, still we dance!” the Sex Workers of ASEAN Art Exhibition.

The event organized by Empower Foundation at Bangkok Art& Cultural Centre where Sex workers from 9 ASEAN States plus Timor Leste have created artworks brought together in a unique exhibit titled “Yet, still we dance! Sex Workers of ASEAN Art Exhibition”

opening on the 2nd April 2013. The exhibition will be on 2-12 April 2013.

Jon Ungpakorn, Senior Human Rights Activist, Member of SEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Democracy on Myanmar, former Senate and the Ramon Magsaysay Award winner 2005, in his open remark encourage all the sex worker to move forward for their rights, “It is always possible to achieve your rights as far as you fight for your rights. But it takes long time to get that right. It is a long fight”

He also emphasized that “Every Sex Worker has Human Rights”

“We are fed up to speak on the same things and still being ignored by rescuers, donors and law makers. So we ask “ IS THIS THE RESCUEING ABOUT?” We are intelligent as the academic researchers and scholars. We can document and analyze our problems  and giving solution to improve our lives” said the in caption of the work from sex workers from Cambodia

The art works exhibit included photography, painting, cloth sculture and instalation from  Aids Myanmar Alliance, PAMT Malaysia, Women’ Network for Unity (Cambodia), Project X Singapore, Phillines Sex Worker’s Collective, Vietnam Network of Sex Workers, Sao Lao, P3SY and OPSI Indonesia, Scarlet Timor Collective, and Empower Thailand.

See below some  of the Art Work of Sex Workers from 9 ASEAN Countries ( Brunei does not participate in the project) plus Timor Lesle.

2013-04-02 16.55.57 2013-04-02 17.44.41 2013-04-02 17.50.37 2013-04-02 18.03.48 2013-04-02 18.04.23 2013-04-02 18.04.32 2013-04-02 18.04.59

Sutthida Malikaew
April 3, 2013

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