July 23, 2017

Insects as a Staple Food in Thailand-Interview with AFFIA Co-Creator Nathan Preteseille

Would you eat cricket pasta?

AFFIA- Asian Food and Feed Insect Association is a Bangkok based association that promotes insects as “food and feed”.

According to their website, AFFIA’s main objective is to bring “industry and research stakeholders from the insects’ sector in a collaborative movement towards the development of entomoculture, entomophagy and their related activities.”

This video was sponsored by Chaninat & Leeds, Thailand’s leading family law firm

Sex Work Museum in Thailand

Empower is a foundation that works to educate sex workers in Thailand

This video was sponsored by Chaninat & Leeds, one of Thailand’s leading family law firm

Prostitution, a profession technically illegal in Thailand but that which remains largely unregulated and some might say, encouraged due to the amount of capital it brings to the nation.  As open as prostitution is in Thailand, many Thais are very conservative and tend to shy away from mingling with women in the sex industry. One small group of people hoped to change this mindset and set up a foundation called Empower.

Empower stands for “Education Means Protecting Women Engaged in Recreation.”

It was founded 30 years ago with the intention of educating women in the sex industry. The founders and its members fought for legalization of prostitution in Thailand and have set up workshops for prostitutes.

Thailawforum set an appointment with one of Empower’s co founders, Khun Noi to talk about Empower and visit the famous Sex Work Museum run by Empower.

The museum is set to tell a story about the history of sex work in Thailand.

The first record of prostitution was in Ayudhaya in the 1600s when the region was given an official license to run an elite brothel. The fee ranged from 50 satang to 4 baht. 50 satang could buy 15 kilograms of rice at that time and would be equivalent to approximately 750 baht today. Most of the women who worked at these brothels were daughters of esteemed officials and customers ranged from foreign dignitaries to travelers and locals.

Prostitution continued to flourish in the region. However it was a US and Thai treaty during the Vietnam war that stamped Thailand as a destination for sex. The governments signed an agreement to provide R&R facilities in Thailand for one week every 6 months of their deployment. One of the places the GI’s favored was Pattaya, not only for the women but also the beautiful beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. In the early days a hotel room cost 50 satang, a lady companion not more.

After WWII ended in early 1947 came the evolution of go-go bars. The first successful go go bar was established in Patpong called The Grand Prix Bar and Restaurant. Dancers wore bikinis and usually danced in bare feet, flip flops or tennis shoes. About 4 dancers would dance each dance about 3 songs before changing to another team.

The next area of the museum showed the evolution of massage parlors. Young GI’s coming to Bangkok in the 1960’s enjoyed getting Turkish baths with addition of body massages, a business that is popular to this date.

Empower believes in educating women in the sex industry and to protect their rights as individuals of society. They work to empower them by promoting workshops to help women contribute to a society that normally shuns them.

As such the foundation runs workshops and it was during such a workshop that a woman Lek, designed the bar of her dreams, a dream realized when it opened in Chiang Mai in 2006. Can do Bar is the first sex workers cooperative bar. All the workers are covered by government social security and work 8 hour shifts, effectively cutting the middle men.

The sex work museum also dedicates one side of the wall to “condomology” and has a selection of condoms that the foundation gives to prostitutes during their work-shops. There is an array of sex toys, both for men and women including a tool box which Khun Noi told us is necessary for work in the sex industry.

It’s hard to ignore the Muay Thai boxing ring occupying the biggest area of the museum. Khun Noi informed me that the ring symbolizes the philosophy of Empower. It teaches the women to have courage, to fight against exploitation and to combat prejudice that is rife in society.

Empower has and is working towards offering support to women working in the sex industry. They are committed to promoting opportunities, equality and human dignity for sex workers in Thailand.

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LGBT Outrage over Alabama Adoption Bill

Alabama is close to passing “discriminatory” law

Vice News reports that the Alabama house unanimously voted to pass the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act” that protects the right of adoption agencies and foster care agencies to deny applications on the grounds of religious freedom.

HB 24 was initially approved by the Senate and thereafter passed by the Alabama house with a 87-0 vote with 6 abstentions.

Heavily criticized the LGBT community for what they consider a “thinly veiled assault on LGBTQ rights”, the bill makes no mention of the LGBT community and claims that it is meant only to “prohibit the state from discriminating against child-placing agencies on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child placement that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the provider.”

The bill only requires the signature of Governor  Kay Ivey. Ivey to become law.

In Thailand, there are no specific laws against same-sex couples adopting, but under the Thailand adoption laws, a couple must be married to be able to adopt and Thai marriage laws do not recognize marriage between same-sex individuals, thereby barring the LGBT community from adopting.

Read more here

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Portugal to Revamp Divorce Laws

The laws have been untouched for more than 50 years

Portugal is set to make changes to the country’s divorce laws including lessening the amount of time couples are required to wait in order to remarry.

According to The Portugal News, the current law requires males to wait 180 days after termination of the marriage to remarry whereas women are required to wait 300 days.

The tenth month delay was introduced as the law states that a women’s husband at the time of conception is automatically the father of a child.

Portugal is one of the few countries that require couples to wait before remarrying. Thailand divorce law does not mandate a waiting period for remarriage. Couples can remarry immediately after getting divorced.

Read more here

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Bill Proposed to Refuse Rapists Custody Rights

Nebraska lawmakers fighting to stop rapists from seeking visitation rights

Nebraska lawmakers are working on a bill that would refuse rapists the rights to child custody or child visitation with regards to offspring that arise from assault they inflicted.

The bill comes after a rapist was awarded one-on-one visitation rights with a child from the woman he had sexually assaulted.

To the woman’s disbelief, the man is now seeking overnight custody rights.

State Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha is sponsoring the bill to prevent such a ruling from happening again.

Child custody lawyers have praised the bill saying that no mother should have to undergo such a traumatic experience.


According to One News Now(https://www.onenewsnow.com/), a similar case took place in the state in which a “Nebraska man convicted of assaulting and impregnating a 13-year-old girl sued to block a couple from adopting the baby after its birth. State lawmakers passed legislation to prevent a rapist’s intervention in such a case.”


Read more here

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Saudi Offers Safer Space for Child Visitations

Currently, divorced parents have to meet their children in police stations

Image by Mohammed Tawsif Salam under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice announced that it will be setting up child visitation centers to offer divorced parents a safer and healthier space to visit their children.

Under the current child custody law, parents are only allowed to meet their children in police stations, which, according to Mohammed Al-Radi, general manager and consultant at a non-profit Al-Mawaddah Society for Family Development said could have a lifelong negative impact on the children.

“We started receiving cases from law firms, police stations and sometimes we get cases from people who voluntarily approach us seeking help without going to courts,” Al-Radi told Arab News. “They see us as a neutral ground.”

The non-profit organization is working in collaboration with the Ministry to implement the initiative in 60 centers around the country.

“We do not only aim to execute this initiative,” said Al-Radi. Our goal is to provide the right environment for children after their parents get divorced.”

Read more at Zawya

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Interview with David Robinson

Interview with David Robinson, Director of Bangkok River Partners and Co-founder of the Creative District

David Robinson is the Director of Bangkok River Partners, an organization that is working towards reviving the Chao Phraya River districts and promoting them as spots for leisure and tourism. He is also the co-founder of the Creative District in Bangkok, an up-and-coming artistic hub in the Klongsan-Bangrak district.

Watch the interview below

This video is sponsored by Thailand’s leading international law firm, Chaninat and Leeds.


Muslim Women Divorced Via Whatsapp

The 2 women have also been thrown out of the house by their in-laws

Two Muslim women in India are fighting back after their husbands proclaimed divorce via a messaging app reports NDTV.

Heena Fathima and Bahrain Noor were married to two brothers who live in the U. S. They filed a police complaint against their in laws for throwing them out of the house after the brothers had divorced them via messages and email.

The women claim they did not receive any warning of the divorce. “Every day he would ask to see the video of the children, how they were doing. Then suddenly, he said talaq. He has to tell me what I did wrong. What is my mistake? This is not right,” said Fathima who was divorced by Syed Fayazuddin six months ago.

Noor was married to Syed’s brother Usman Qureishi who ended the marriage shortly after his move to the U.S a few months ago by sending her a message on Whatsapp. The message read, ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’. Noor’s in-laws threw her out and that’s when the two women decided to take action reports NDTV.

Police have registered the case against the husbands and in-laws. South Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police V. Satyanarayana, said the police had told the father-in-law that he could not push them out of the house.

According to international divorce attorney in Thailand Jiraporn Thongphong, divorce via Whatsapp is not valid under Sharia law.

However, the men claim they have sent necessary documents.

Read more here

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Australian Surrogate Babies Stuck in Cambodia

Surrogacy was flourishing in the country a year ago before the government banned it

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that up 10 surrogate babies with Australian biological parents are stuck in Cambodia because the government is refusing to issue exit visas.

According to the report, “The Cambodian government is refusing to issue exit visas for all surrogacy cases where the newborn babies have a foreign passport, in a developing human crisis in the country.”

The report also stated that the government “had previously warned that if intending Australian parents failed to present themselves to the authorities the government would not facilitate them bringing their babies to Australia.”

Cambodia’s Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry Chou Bun Eng, said that the government wants to ensure that promises made to the surrogate mothers are fulfilled and that the contract is completed.

Commercial surrogacy was flourishing in the country after it was banned in Thailand and India. However, government officials abolished the trade over human rights violation concerns.

Commercial surrogacy in Thailand is banned for foreigners, but couples residing in Thailand can choose to have a surrogate baby.

Read more here

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Texas Fathers Fighting for Equal Custody Law

Mothers tend to gain sole custody of children during divorce

Texan fathers are working towards a law reform that will give them equal rights to child custody during a divorce.

Texas House Bill 453 aims to give children equal amounts of time with both parents.

Similar law reforms have taken place in other states such as Missouri. Usually, mothers are given sole custody of their children and the father receives visitation rights. However, reports indicate that “ children grow up healthier mentally and physically when they spend more time with their fathers.”

According to Thailand child custody lawyer Jiraporn Thongphong,there are innumerable instances in which a father would like to spend more time with his children after a divorce but is not allowed to by law.

“If this bill passes you’re going in there at an equal advantage with the other person,” said Geren, a father of two and who is among the vocal supporters of HB453, to WFAA. “It doesn’t touch on any child support. It doesn’t touch on anything that would be detrimental to the child. It’s still left in the courts hands on what they want to do.”

HB453 was authored by State Rep. James White, R-Woodville.  It has not yet been referred to a committee. A similar legislation was introduced in 2015 but quickly died.

Read more here

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