Thai massage parlors in Malmö

In Malmö, there are over a hundred Thai massage parlors employing over three hundred Thai women. Women in the Thai massage industry are often isolated from Swedish society, and the majority of them work under exploitative conditions, impacting their well-being and status in Swedish society. There is also a high risk that these women may be sexually exploited.

Together with the City of Malmö, Noomi is running a project called ThaiWISE (Thai Women in Sweden Empowerment Project) to provide support to this target group.

The project began in September 2019, and since the beginning of 2020, there has been an established collaboration with the City of Malmö through an IOP agreement. ThaiWISE has a working group consisting of representatives from Noomi, the City of Malmö/ASF (Public Health Department); Sexual Health, Evonhuset, Integration and Housing, and the Environmental Department. The project is led by a Thai project manager. It is a multi-year project aimed at bringing about permanent changes for the target group, both at an individual and structural level, by:

  • Improving access for Thai women in the massage industry (employers and employees) to societal services.
  • Providing women with current information about their rights.
  • Offering an introduction to the Swedish language.
  • Supporting their integration into the Swedish society.
  • Improving working conditions and providing alternative employment opportunities.
  • Promoting ethical business practices.

Project strategies

Relevant actors

The project aims to develop a diversified approach to work with both the country of origin (Thailand) and the destination country (Sweden). We have collaboration with the Thai embassy in Sweden and the Swedish embassy in Thailand, where embassy staff in Bangkok provide information material from ThaiWISE to those intending to travel to Sweden. This is in order to promote safer immigration of Thai women to Sweden.

The Thai embassy in Sweden provides information to the ThaiWISE website and actively participates in the project.

In Sweden, we work with local authorities in Malmö, providing societal services, and with networks of Thai women that play a crucial role in supporting Thai women in their circles. We also collaborate with Hyllie Park Folk High School, which offers Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) in Thai for the target group.

Women's Participation and Empowerment

Women's participation and empowerment are at the core of the ThaiWISE project. The project aims to strengthen women's position in society and provide them with tools to change their life situations. Therefore, a reference group consisting of women from the target group plays a central role in the operational work. They are part of the project's working group, participate in decision-making processes, and are involved in outreach work, helping to disseminate information to Thai women in Thai massage parlors in Malmö.

Key Working Methods

Project objective

  • Increase awareness of safe immigration and the risks of irregular immigration among Thai women planning to immigrate to Sweden.
  • Establish a social safety net for vulnerable groups that will improve living conditions, educational levels, and contribute to preventing exploitation.
  • Improve working conditions and provide access to alternative employment opportunities.
  • Increase awareness of issues related to Thai women in the massage industry, leading to policy management and change.