Promise to legalise sex toys in Thailand as selling one could land you in jail

Thailand might have a reputation as one of the top holiday destinations for pleasure-seekers, but vibrators are illegal there and selling them carries a three-year jail sentence.

That could soon change though after May’s election. In a bid to boost its appeal, a Conservative Thai political party has backed the legalisation of sex toys.

Ratchada Thanadirek from Thailand’s Democrat party says there are sound economic reasons for the move.

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She says the government had been missing out on collecting taxes from the sale of adult toys. While they’re illegal they are openly sold on street stalls in Bangkok.

She adds there could be social gains to be made as well: “Sex toys are useful because they could lead to a decrease in prostitution as well as divorce due to a mismatch of sexual libido, and sex-related crimes.”

She added there was currently no quality control over imported sex toys and some short-circuited, causing safety issues.

She pointed out that sex toys are recognised as legal products in many countries such as Japan, Singapore, Germany and the Czech Republic, which generate substantial tax income.

The global sex toy market has grown 7% annually since 2019, she said, generating more than 300 billion baht [about £7billion] annually, she said, citing a UK study.

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Her Democrat party has announced that it supports the establishment of a sex toy industry in Thailand and would legalise the items for people aged 18 years and over.

She said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) would control these products' quality and safety standards if they become legal.

The party, once a dominant force in Thai politics, suffered huge losses in the 2019 election. It lost seats in many of its key strongholds, with many voters abandoning it to support the military-backed Palang Pracharath party.

Its reputation was further damaged by a sex scandal last year when 14 women formally filed complaints against its former deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi. He denies the charges, which are still before the courts.

The party is currently scoring well below 10% in opinion polls. The election is set to take place on Sunday, May 14.

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