Hanoi announces biggest prostitution crackdown ever

By VnExpress   February 13, 2017 | 07:27 pm PT
Hanoi announces biggest prostitution crackdown ever
A sex worker waits for clients in Hanoi. Photo by AFP
The capital city is aiming to bust up to 500 cases of illegal sex work in 2017, more than twice the number usually seen in past years.

The city of Hanoi has announced a crackdown on sex work this year, saying hundreds of hair salons and massage parlors will be inspected regularly.

The goal is to bust 500 cases and make sure there are not many repeat offenders.

Hanoi authorities last year identified more than 5,500 businesses offering so-called "sensitive" services. Most of them are registered as hair salons, bars or massage parlors but also provide illegal sex services.

The city also plans to offer financial assisatance to help sex workers look for new jobs.

Sex work is outlawed in Vietnam, where the workers can be fined and those procuring sex sent to jail.

But despite the tough stance, the illegal business never stops thriving.

Data may vary but figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggest that there are nearly 101,300 sex workers, including 72,000 female sex workers, in Vietnam.

According to the organization, sex workers are among the most vulnerable in Vietnam as they have to deal with regular police raids and persistent fear of theft and violence, especially for women working on the street.

A full-time worker usually works 10 to 12 hours each day, and women provide sexual services to between six to 10 clients on average, and up to 30 per day. Male workers serve between three and 10 clients each day, a workload considered “heavy” by many pimps interviewed by the ILO.

Most of the 73 workers surveyed chose to enter the sex industry, considering it a better option than their previous jobs.

Chang-Hee Lee, director of ILO Vietnam, said that the government and relevant agencies need to make sex trade employers protect the safety and health of their employees.

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