Male prostitution in Vietnam has existed for a long time but their services, which are illegal in the nation, have not been publicly mentioned, especially by local media.
Part 1: A look inside male brothels
Part 2: Who are the clients of male brothels?
Part 3: ‘Occupational hazards’ of male prostitutes
Part 4: Peer education a safety net for sex workers
Normally, contact information for rings and male prostitutes are passed from hand to hand among ‘clients’ in confidence to avoid their relations being revealed or commented on. It is a common practice in a nation heavily influenced by Confucianism.
The clients of these prostitutes are not only women, but also a large number of men from the LGBT community. Some men with wives and children also use the services provided at male brothels.
A transfer in confidence
A male prostitute named H said about his female clients, “Most of them are above the age of 40, divorced or widowed, and have a lot of money.” Many of them contact sex workers via telephone or email to ask them to come to their houses, not hotels, he added.
It takes little time to serve a male client, but receiving a female client may last a whole day and night, H said.
“I am a man, so having a woman with me like that makes me happier. The other reason is that female clients pay a lot.”
Normally, a wealthy female client may give a male sex worker several million dong per night. VND1 million is equivalent to US$48.
H told Tuoi Tre that he currently has ten regular female clients coming from Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Bien Hoa, and Can Tho.
“Upon arriving in the city, they call me and we usually start with drinking, then dancing before taking each other to private places such as hotels or rented houses. Most of them always ask for a massage before having sex,” H said.
Women prefer to be fondled first, H said.
But female clients are clear in keeping their relationships with sex workers brief, as they never go beyond their needs for sexual desire. After a time with a male sex worker, a client will change to another and cut any ties with the previous one.
“So, a female client sometimes invites her sex worker and many of his colleagues to attend a party at her home. She then keeps contacts for all of us. Our contacts may also be given to her female friends,” H admitted.
“We men are not jealous at all. I may also whisper her tastes and habits to my friends to better please her,” H confided.
Not only elderly women, but several young girls in their 20s also come to male brothels, an owner of a brothel in the city revealed.
The appearance of a male prostitute, with an attractive face and well-built stature, does matter to a female client, but it means almost nothing to a male client, H said, adding that male clients rarely select male prostitutes as long as their sexual desires are met.
Another male sex worker named G said about one of his male clients, “The client resides in District 10, and has a wife and a son.”
“He often takes me home and introduces me to his wife as his twin brother,” G revealed.
The client calls G once a week at a certain hotel, G added.
Many male sex workers are good-looking students at art schools in Ho Chi Minh City. They decide to go into this line of work to make money for clothes and school supplies, as the costs of attending an art school are often high.
“My family cannot afford this art college, so I have to take care of myself. I feel ashamed to see my friends in good clothes and driving nice vehicles that I don’t have,” said a student named P, who works at night for a male brothel in District 3.
“I only receive rich clients who are business people or overseas Vietnamese to get around a million dong per 30 minute session,” P said.
“Some men like me, ask me to come to their houses for parties, and give expensive gifts such as motorbike and clothes, and even book tours to travel with me.”