The death of a sex worker in Taipei

2006-09-10 - sueyvonne

Wearing black, holding the picture of Kuang, a group of sex workers, COSWAS (Collective of Sex Workers and supporters) members and other labour organizations staged a protest on August 23, in front of the Presidential Office to call for de-criminalization of sex workers and to call for president Chen, former mayor of Taipei City to be responsible for it.

1995, Taipei City Government decided to abolish the system of publicly registered prostitutes. These publicly registered prostitutes fiercely inveighed, protested and formed self-help organization. Sex workers Right movement and COSWAS, the sex workers right movement organization, gradually spoke out in the history of sex politics in Taiwan and finally get a two-year buffer time in 1999. March 28, 2001, the due day of the buffer time, due to the “purge-in-name-only” attitude in the society, the legal sex industry existed since the Japanese Occupation Era to cope with the need of migrant and colonial society was officially abolished yet became underground, hence forcibly became invisible in the history and space of Taiwan. Nine years later, former leader of self-help organization of publicly registered prostitutes Mrs. Kuang committed suicide on august 3. She is not the first deceased.

The policy of abolishing publicly registered prostitutes forces the sex industry to go underground. It also disregards the reality these once-legal sex workers lay in. Underclass sex workers struggle in illegal and underground situation and are isolated from human relations. They have to compete with each other to survive. Behind every one of them is the burden of economical breakdown and tangled social problems. Suffering from unemployment, single-parenthood, expensive tuition of children, typhoon and earthquake disaster, illness, mental and physical disability, they have to maintain their daily life by loan, by usury, by credit debt or by borrowing, these system chain together and swamp them. Moreover, they face the difficulty of reemployment. Those who work privately cannot escape from the fear of the government’s hardworking on banning sex industry to improve the achievement of public security. Kuang was compelled to the wall because the banning block her income, she didn’t have enough to meet her need.

Behind individual death, we can see that the real killer is not the male exploitation as we often imagined, but the short-sighted policy and Puritan ideology conspired by middle-class women organizations and patriarchal buracracy.

The society of Taiwan embraces unstable cultural identity, claims the death of economic class and cultural class by the cultural value “decentralization” which is seemingly recognized , and worship sex politics. However, underclass sex workers are still entangled in the ideology that runs itself, abandoned by both patriarchy and women’s movement, and excluded from the commitment of human right and the right to work.

There have been through nine years and still the road is long. Yet, from the cleft of the city we hear the voice telling unrevealed stories. This time, under the sun, beneath the sky, we shall no longer ignore.

(Thanks 王正彤 for translating )

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18 4月17:27

if you have a chinese

By hoidick

if you have a chinese version
Submitted by oiwan on Mon, 2006-09-11 21:38.

please add the translation so that chinese readers can read directly from it and other chinese website can link to it. thanks :)

Submitted by ahchoii on Tue, 2006-09-12 00:14.

Submitted by cityghost on Tue, 2006-09-12 23:34.
protest on Aug/23/2006:

protest on Sep/06/2006:

in solidarity.