The Thailand parliament passed a host of new sexual assault amendments to the Thai Penal Code that significantly increases penalties on those who commit sexual offenses.
The new penalties also broaden the legal definition of sexual assault.
Previously, sexual offenses were somewhat narrowly defined by Thailand’s Penal Code.
The recent changes to the code are intended to reflect a more modern understanding of victim’s rights and sexual abuse cases.
Specifically, the amended version of Section 27 of Thailand’s Criminal Code states that a person who rapes another through force, coercion, or taking advantage of them while they are unable to resist will now face 4-20 years imprisonment and a fine of 80,000-100,000 baht.
Additionally, if the perpetrator of the sexual assault has a firearm, he or she will face 7-20 years and a fine up to 400,000 baht. In cases of group or “gang-rape”, the offenders in question will face up to life imprisonment.
The Thai Penal Code also now legally defines both forced or coerced sodomy and oral sex as forms of sexual assault.
Potential life imprisonment will also be doled out now for individuals who rape a minor aged 13 or under.
Penalties in these cases will be doubled if the perpetrator shares footage of the sexual assault online.
Stricter penalties for abetting or benefitting from prostitution as well as coercing individuals into the sex trade were also codified in the country’s updated Penal Code.