Street Vendor Exchange: NYC and Bangkok

February 15, 2018

Bangkok, Thailand

NY SVP

On February 15, 2018, two representatives from the New York Street Vendor Project, Director Sean Basinski and Lei Bai, met with a group of Bangkok street vendors to exchange experiences and strategies. The group in Bangkok is beginning to organize in the context of the increasingly repressive environment for street vending in Bangkok that has taken shape following the 2014 military coup (read more here). They exchanged with Sean and Lei about a number of issues, including the legal framework for vending in New York City, the rights of migrant vendors and organizational and campaign strategies. The Street Vendor Project made three principal recommendations to the Bangkok vendors during the meeting: 

  • Decide what you want and what is reasonable: Some restrictions on vending (i.e. not blocking sidewalk) are reasonable. It is important to have a clear idea as a group what restrictions you think are reasonable, which are not, and be willing to abide by these as a group. 
  • Use this moment: It is much easier to organize when there is an immediate problem to mobilize around, as is the case in Bangkok. It is important to use these moments strategically. 
  • Use what you have: One strength of Bangkok is the city's fame as a top destination for vending and street food. The reputation of the city could suffer if the government continues the repressive campaign. 
The exchange forms part of a larger effort by HomeNet Thailand WIEGO Focal Cities Bangkok to facilitate the creation of a street vendor network in Bangkok.