Monday, 3/19: Public Meeting with EMPOWER, a Sex Worker Collective form Thailand

[[ The Green Party of Alameda County has endorsed this event and encourages you to attend!]]
On Monday, March 19th, four women organizers from Empower will be speaking in Oakland, as part of their first tour to the US.  See below for bios.  They are joined by Niki Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes. THE EVENT WILL BE HELD AT 7PM IN THE OMNI COMMONS BALLROOM AT 4799 SHATTUCK AVENUE, OAKLAND. This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from sex workers as well as how grassroots women in the Global South are organizing for survival across different sectors of society.
Empower Foundation is a sex workers’ collective in Thailand which for 30 years has been promoting rights and opportunities for sex workers, especially access to education, healthcare, and legal advocacy. Over the years, 50,000 sex workers have passed through their doors, including migrant women from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
The English Collective of Prostitutes is a UK-based group, founded in 1975, which helps sex workers defend themselves against unjust charges and spearheads campaigns for decriminalization, safety, and resources so that sex workers can leave sex work if and when they want.
Before coming to the Bay Area, Empower are presenting at the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and at community and university events in Philadelphia and Providence.
The Oakland meeting is hosted by US PROStitutes Collective, a Bay Area based organization, founded in 1982, which won parity for sex workers in compensation claims.  Also, working with others, we won police and District Attorney policies granting immunity from arrest and from prosecution for sex workers reporting violence.
The event is sponsored by Global Women’s Strike/Bay Area, GWS Omni Collective, In Defense of Prostitute Women’s Safety Project, US PROStitutes Collective, and Women of Color/GWS.
Endorsers thus far include: Andrea Prichett of Copwatch; Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network (BAYSWAN); Berkeley East Bay Gray Panthers; Erotic Service Providers Union; San Francisco Living Wage Coalition; Sex Worker Outreach Project/Sacramento (SWOP);  Way-Pass; Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP); Women against Rape/SF
Facebook Event Page: [1]
Empower Foundation Website:
For more information contact:;
LIZ HILTON has worked with the Empower Foundation for over 20 years. Ms Hilton’s expertise includes research, film-making and publications, including: “Hit & Run: The impact of anti-trafficking law and practice on sex workers’ human rights in Thailand”. Ms Hilton is an English speaker and fluent in Thai. She has been central to bringing Empower’s advocacy, campaigning, art and performance to international audiences. In 2015, Ms. Hilton testified in the UK Parliament as part of an international symposium on the decriminalization of sex work, organized by the English Collective of Prostitutes.
ARSIO LAECHOE (PUENG) is a single mother and a sex worker, the main provider and head of her extended family. Pueng is from the Akkha ethnic minority group who live in China, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. Many live without full citizenship, access to education, access to health care, right to own or farm land, right to travel, right to employment. Akkha women have been leaders of Empower since 1991 and continue to be a major source of power, creativity, humor and common sense.
THANTA LAOVILWANYAKUL (PING PONG) is a single mother and grandmother who has been a sex worker leader with Empower since 1996. She is recognized by the sex worker community as having expertise about women’s health and sex worker advocacy. She is an artist and performer whose work is aimed at reducing stigma and encouraging society to see women who do sex work in new ways.
CHATCHALAWAN MUANGJAN (OA) has been a driving force in Empower since 2010. She runs Empower’s Legal Club (a training and self-help legal resource project) and manages Empower’s Thai School Education project that gives women access to school qualifications (elementary, middle and senior high school). Oa is recognized by sex workers as their key legal adviser, untangling legal jargon, filing complaints and following up abuses against sex workers by law enforcement and other authorities.