Sex in border areas: P1, the cheap flesh market
Updated : 09/04/2012 17:50 GMT + 7
In this series, Tuoi Tre investigative journalists reported on prostitution in Chinese towns bordering Vietnam, on Vietnamese women being forced into the flesh market, on trafficking rings and others.
We visited an area known as “Xam Cao” in Dongxing town, Guangxi Province in China on the border with Vietnam's Mong Cai.
Once housing many brick kilns, Xam Cao is now a cheap place for Vietnamese and Chinese traders to visit for sex.
Pretending to be clients, we visited a girl who, after inviting us into her compartment, immediately reminded us to “pay the money as the compartment has been opened”. By this, she meant that since we have already entered her ‘room’, we must pay no matter what.
We then promised to buy three sessions costing VND600,000 in total upon which her sad and exhausted face suddenly turned bright. Here, one session lasts around 30 minutes and costs VND200,000 or US$10.
Whenever we asked, the girl replied in short, blunt answers. But in the end, we managed to learn that her name is Nga, from Nam Dinh Province in northern Vietnam.
Asked if she voluntarily came to China for this job, Nga replied she was tricked by a Hanoi man, adding that she spent one year being a hotel prostitute in Vietnam before becoming an unwanted prostitute and drifting here to work.
“Who wants to come here”, she asked us.
Nga’s boss is from the same Nam Dinh hometown. She too was once tricked but later lived with a Chinese pimp and became a procuress herself.
A girl stands by a brothel in bad condition in Dongxing town, Guangxi Province in China. Tuoi Tre
We continued to explore another place. Here in Dongxing town, most hotels have their own prostitutes. But if they don’t, clients can order them from other hotels.
Even one adjacent the restaurant we were having lunch had some 10 Vietnamese girls. While enjoying the meal, the restaurant owner came over and told us “after drinking, just drop by that hotel to be served by the girls. No need to go anywhere else”.
Disguised brothels mostly come in the form of barber’s shops and massage places. Whenever we walked, women in skimpy clothes surrounded us. When the local guide stopped us at a place he knew, one Chinese woman whisked us in.
There, behind a living room only small enough to contain a table and several chairs are a series of compartments, some with the curtains draped over. The covered areas indicate they are occupied with clients.
In Dongxing town, even female tram drivers are ready to recommend places for you to buy sex. We were told it is China’s one-child policy and the tradition of favoring sons that leads to the imbalance between the sexes. And when the indigenous supply is scanty, Vietnamese women fill in.
More flesh markets
Leaving the red light districts in Dongxing, we took a bus to Jiangping - another town of Guangxi Province.
We were taking an old bus at 12 o’clock noon when three cute girls probably no older than 18 stepped on. As they were hemmed in by six big men, we took a wild guess that they were prostitutes on the way to their clients or back to their brothel.
At another town Linh Coong in Guangxi, we came to know 17-year-old Vietnamese girl Nghiem Thi Thu. Thu boasts clear, fair skin, sparkling eyes and a slender body. Around 1.6m tall, she has been working there for nearly a year.
We learn that she was tricked with three others into prostitution. Now, Thu is the most sought-after girl in the massage place in Linh Coong town. She alone serves up to 40 guests per day.
This place is run by a 50-year-old Vietnamese woman hailing from the northern Bac Giang Province. In the past, she was a victim, once sold to a Chinese man for marriage.
At 7am, three girls known as Thu, Ly and Phuong in tight shorts and revealing clothes sat in front of this shop and waved at guests passing by.
Tuoi Tre learns that they rarely have enough sleep while their manager earns dozens of millions of dong per day. (VND10 million = $500).
To be continued