Text: | Print|

Sex worker exposé puts legalization in focus

2014-02-10 09:03 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

An undercover investigation by China Central Television (CCTV) has revealed a dozen hotels in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong province, which offer sex services.

Undercover CCTV reporters went to hotels in five areas of Dongguan, a city which has been infamous for its large scale illegal sex industry for over a decade. The video taken by a hidden camera showed hotel managers organizing young women to appear in front of the reporter for selection.

The selected women would presumably offer sex services for fees ranging from hundreds to thousand yuan. The video also showed similar "beauty show" activities taking place in KTV chambers. In one KTV chamber, two girls danced naked for customers.

"You just lie down there and the lady will serve you all around," one female manager told a reporter in the video, referring to the hotels' sexual bath services.

According to China's Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security, prostitutes and customers are subject to detention and fines. Organizers are subject to criminal penalties.

However, hotel managers didn't seem worried about possible police raids or penalties. "We are fine. Being open to you now is proof," one female manager of a hotel in Humen, which is administered by Dongguan, assured the reporter. A clerk from another hotel said it is safe to buy sex there. "No police are coming, we would have been put out of business long ago if they had come."

A CCTV reporter called the police twice to report prostitution in two separate hotels. The phone operator promised to send police to investigate, but no police showed up.

Comments online excoriated the inaction by local police, and some suggested that China should also set up special "sex zones."

Sociologist Li Yinhe believes that sometimes police are reluctant to respond because they are short of manpower, not necessarily because they are in league with people in the industry. "I think they only have enough people to take care of more serious crimes," she said.

Li has been studying the sex life of Chinese society for years. She said it is hard to take away the sex industry in Dongguan because the demand is too strong. "Prostitution is all over the country. It booms in Dongguan because control over it is relatively loose there," Li said.

In 2010 Dongguan police paraded arrested sex workers on the street to humiliate them. The action was criticized by the public and by the Ministry of Public Security. Police in Henan province publicized the faces of prostitutes.

Li said the current anti-prostitution law does not help solve the problem and instead makes the situation worse. "It allows criminal organizations to take control of the industry because the government chooses to ignore it," said Li.

Li said legalization might help to solve the prostitution matter, but the biggest obstacle is attitudes on morality. She said that part of the problem is that China declared the elimination of prostitution as a goal. "Legalizing prostitution is not permitted to be discussed," Li said.

While a few scholars have taken a liberal attitude toward sex workers' rights, they remain in the minority and have been sharply criticized.

National People's Congress deputy Chi Susheng, from Heilongjiang province, has been fighting to legalize prostitution for many years. In a recent discussion on sohu.com, she said her aim is to better prevent AIDS among sex workers.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.