Saigon police bust sex work ring aimed at foreigners

By Minh Nga   August 30, 2017 | 11:20 am GMT+7
Saigon police bust sex work ring aimed at foreigners
Police have been tracking the ring, which mainly targeted foreigners, for months and have identified around ten sex workers all aged under 25. Photo courtesy of HCMC police

The young women, who got around $11 to have sex with strangers, are believed to have been working 24/7.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested two women for arranging sex services for men, chiefly foreigners, at hotels around the city.

Nguyen Thuy Hang, 34, told police that she had been charging clients VND800,000 ($35) per session. Out of that she gave her partner Phan Nhu Phung VND300,000, before splitting the rest with the sex workers.

Police have been tracking the ring for months and have identified around 10 sex workers all aged under 25, local media reported.

Officers raided a hotel on Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1 on Monday and caught two members of the ring with clients.

The girls are believed to have been working around the clock, mainly serving foreigners, and were transported to different hotels by two motorbike taxi drivers Hang had hired.

Around 3,000 people are believed to be sex workers in Saigon, according to official data.

The city has also seen an increase in male sex workers and the involvement of foreigners in the racket, as well as the appearance of “high-end" sex work rings involving self-proclaimed actresses and models.

HCMC has asked the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, to draft a law on sex work prevention to improve the legality and effectiveness of police crackdowns.

Nguyen Thanh Huyen from HCMC’s Police Department told VnExpress last year that prostitution rings have gone online and are using social networks like Facebook and Zalo to attract clients. Sex tourism is also showing signs of returning.

As sex work continues to grow, authorities are struggling to get a grip on it because as soon as they raid one brothel, others are alerted and shut down. A license revoked here becomes another license issued there.

In 2014, the closest year for which data was availableVietnam admitted to having 33,000 sex workers, 2.6 percent of whom were HIV positive.

Of the estimated 250,000 Vietnamese victims of HIV/AIDS, female sex workers are among the three most vulnerable groups, along with drug users and homosexual men, according to official figures.

 
 
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