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I’m Being a Bad Girl!

I’m sitting in the office of the Empower Foundation in Chiang Mai. Today I met my first Hero.

She’s spunky, bold and beautiful. She’s also a sex worker.

I’ve spent the entire day with Pimm and her merry band of a dozen ‘bad girls’ (They like to call themselves that!). All of whom work at the Can Do Bar in Chiang Mai.

Empower Foundation is an amazing organisation that works for the rights of Sex Workers in Thailand. They don’t preach and they don’t apologise for who they are or who they represent.

I’ll be updating this post shortly (with pics), but right now, I have a date with 12 beautiful women and boy, do they know how to have a blast!

Glad to get away from Bangkok’s heat and shopping Malls, Chiang Mai has the charm of a sleepy small town, with all the city comforts thrown in for good measure.

Watch this space folks. Because when Im good, I’m good… but when I’m bad… I do it like the pros :)

UPDATE

It’s now 9:30 pm and I was just dropped off to my guest house by the very gracious Pimm. She rides her bike like a crazy woman though!

I first found out about Empower Foundation while I was reading about Sex Tourism in Thailand. Needless to say, it’s the destination of choice for people on a set agenda. The women are undeniably beautiful and the law flexible for people with deep pockets.

But Empower is not trying to rescue the ‘working girls’, far from it. It’s helping the girls claim their rights as professionals and making the right choices to protect themselves from ‘occupational hazards’.

The world’s oldest profession is rather unfair to its professionals. In most developing countries they have little or no protection from the law and law enforcers and no social security. They contribute immensely to the local economy and yet are neither credited nor completely integrated in it.

The girls I met were warm, confident and very realistic about their work life. They spoke of their work with the same detachment and practicality as any of us would. It’s a job; it pays the bills and meets their financial needs. Many of them come from rural Thailand and never had any formal education. They support large families and have made a comfortable life for themselves. Nothing they should be apologetic about. Isn’t that what all of us are trying to do?

Today was a big leap for me, helping me detach myself from the inherited prejudice against sex workers. I’m a liberal person, but there was plenty of room to grow! The girls I met were not devious, money swindling Jezebels. They were hardworking, honest and strong.

What I appreciate most about Empower is the window of opportunity they have created for the sex workers it supports. They arm them with information and not sermons. They integrate them into regular everyday life- like with the visit to the Museum, that I had the pleasure of being part of. And they give the girls skills that help them grow; language and computers being the primary examples. How the girls choose to channel these new skills is their call entirely.

Empower’s approach is not about control and coercion, it’s about support.

Impossibly hard to upload pictures. I’m trying! Don’t give up on me yet.

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10 Responses to “I’m Being a Bad Girl!”

  1. ayesha sharma says:

    Hey, thats an awesome pick for a first Hero!
    Waiting to hear more…
    Good Luck :)

  2. Parul Srivastava says:

    Hey, that’s wonderful.But would like to know about your heroes in detail..

  3. Nandita says:

    Waiting with bated breath for the rest of the story

  4. Karthick says:

    Interesting initiative !! So whats up with this heroes project , where does this thing lead, Guss u must be having hell lot of adventure as part of ur journey ..!! good luck..!!!

  5. kiran says:

    Thailand is known for its sex tourism…only logical to pick on one of the thousands of such heroic women who battle against all odds to bring dignity to whatever they must do to survive. Great going!

  6. Dhruv says:

    tithiya: what a selection for your first hero!!! great going!!

  7. Sanket says:

    just subscribed to the feed, keep going girl!

  8. ayesha sharma says:

    Hey Tithi!

    I really liked reading about your first Hero encounter… and I’m not just offering girl support!

    Your writing is fair, balanced and honest without being preachy… I enjoyed reading it!

    So proud of u Babe!

    PS: Hope u are wearing a helmet on the bikes!

  9. Gaurav says:

    Hi Tithya

    The right choice for the first hero! I think you have diligently brought out an aspect from Thailand which needs more exposure in India…I think someone from Human Rights activism would take cognizance of the example of the first Hero.

    Anyways, your journey seems to be pretty interesting. Keep it going great.

    Regards
    Gaurav

  10. Gaurav says:

    And of course, may be some more snaps about the first Hero and your involvement in it would be a great add up.

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