Change needed to rid Thai workplaces of sexual harassment report finds

Sexual harassment in Thailand remains deeply embedded in society to the detriment of women and especially women migrant workers, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Women.

News | 03 December 2021
BANGKOK (ILO News) - The report "Who is going to believe us?” Work-related sexual harassment in Thailand with a focus on women migrant workers, analyses existing research on sexual harassment in Thailand. It also highlights the limitations of existing legislation and its implementation to prevent sexual harassment.

The report finds that many women chose not to report their experiences due to the downplaying of the seriousness of sexual violence and harassment in society. Meanwhile, for those who do make a report, attrition throughout the legal process and institutional biases against migrant workers result in less likelihood of survivors receiving justice.

The assumption that a victim will report everything at the first available opportunity, ignores the significant social stigma and power imbalances that exist in sexual violence or harassment cases, and the vulnerabilities women may face in their employment, especially women migrant workers. Changes are required at every level to ensure that the rights of all women are respected and that every workplace is a safe workplace”

Graeme Buckley, ILO Country Director for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic
The research findings show how misconceptions such as “sexual violence only happens in certain segments of society” or that “good” or educated men are unlikely to be seen as perpetrators of violence still persist in Thai society.

There must be no place for violence and harassment neither in the world of work, nor at home, neither online nor offline and not even on the way to work. Let us work together to ensure the rights to freedom from violence and harassment in the world of work, and to put measures into practice. There is no time to lose”

H. E. David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union to the Kingdom of Thailand
The study reiterates the need for a comprehensive approach to prevent violence and sexual harassment in the world of work in Thailand and provides a series of recommendations relating to laws, policies and measures as well as prevention and enforcement.

These include a consultative review to bring national legislation into alignment with international standards including the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and the Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206).

Based on its key findings, the study also stresses the need for campaigns to promote public awareness about sexual harassment by engaging civil society organizations, trade unions, government and employer associations.

The report is an initiative of the joint ILO-UN Women “Safe and Fair Programme” under the “Spotlight Initiative”, a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

For further information please contact:

Natthanicha Lephilibert
National Programme Coordinator, Safe and Fair Programme
ILO Country Office for Thailand

Pichit Phromkade
Communications Officer, Safe and Fair Programme
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific