Most sex shops in Ho Chi Minh City, that are allowed to sell condoms only, have crossed the limit to provide illegal sex toys and fake or unregistered aphrodisiac.
They are illegally imported into Vietnam by magnates who then spread to the shops in the city and other provinces.
One of the magnates named Ngoc said, “It costs an owner 20-30 million dong [US$960 – 1,440] to run a sex shop in the city and he can take back millions of dong from only two customers.”
He added he could even supply anesthetic drugs to trap girls but warned of great care to avoid overdose.
All kinds of sex toys in the shops
Sex shops have recently sprung up in the city, especially some streets as Phan Dang Luu, Quang Trung and Cach Mang Thang Tam having tens of such shops.
Announcements of staff recruitments for the sex shops have flooded online websites and leaflets and newspapers. Not only getting salary, staff also earn commissions from the products they sell.
In the role of a staff of a sex shop on Pham The Hien Street in District 8, Tuoi Tre journalist was required by the owner named Tuan to half open the door of the shop so that clients don’t feel shy while standing inside.
And all staff have to introduce the products right after a client enters so that the client may not be shy at asking for something. A greeting must be ‘Hello, here we have condoms, lubricant gel, dildos and other sex toys. What do you want?’
Immediately after the words, the owner asks his staff to take out the products from a drawer to introduce to clients.
Tuan also gives his staff a A4 sheet listing different names of products of the shop as aphrodisiacs for men and women with boastful advertisements of their effects as ‘it’s colorless, odorless and can be mixed into water, beer, wine, or coffee for quick effect.’
Clients usually come to the shop at night from 8 pm – 11 pm daily and just a couple of customers passing by during daytime. They differ in age from young people to middle men and elderly people in their ages of 60s or 70s.
Many prefer products to help lengthen the time.
On receiving a man who is a construction contractor and a regular client of the shop, he asked bluntly if the shop has any special goods.
Holding in hand a dildo with its tip in the shape of a dragon head with battery-charged vibration, he gave a nod for its price of VND1.2 million ($58) and took out a bank note of 100 US dollars.
At the other sex shop named HT on Ten Lua Street in Binh Tan District, hundreds of kinds of condoms were displayed on shelves publicly while sex toys and drugs for external and internal use were kept in drawers of a cabinet. Each product is listed its price and effect in sheets of paper.
The magnate Ngoc advised sex shops that drugs for external use can also be on public display as owners don’t get punished as heavily as illegal drugs for internal use.
The HT owner asked his staff to learn by heart the lists and taught his owner experience on receiving customers.
“They mainly differ in three kinds – one coming for curiosity, one in need of products and consulting with information and the last one, ‘professional’ with hands-on experience,” the owner said.
Most clients coming to sex shops are seeking lubricant gel and sex toys, not many for condoms, he admitted.
“If sex shops are open for only the sales of condoms, we suffer great loss. We have to cover other products for profit,” the owner of the HT shop said.
A research by Tuoi Tre journalists in the roles of sales staff concludes that owners benefit super profit from their shops. A shop may get several millions of dong a day after deducting other costs.
It’s normal for a sex shop to win a profit of tens of millions of dong a month.
Averagely, sex shop owners earn a big profit thanks to the selling time at seven or eight times higher than the price of input.
A unit of four Viagra 100mg pills is priced at VND35,000 ($1.7) but sold to clients at VND220,000 – over six times higher. A can of aphrodisiac for women at price of VND60,000 is sold at VND380,000. The other kind of aphrodisiac for men is sold at VND1.2 million while its input price is only VND200,000.
A magnate of importing the drugs admitted they all come from China and Malaysia and having no certificates of origin.
A sex shop owner admitted that aphrodisiac has little effect as what it is advertised for but almost no user return for complaints thanks to shyness.
Pham Kim Binh, acting chief of inspection unit of the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City, said the sales of aphrodisiac and dildos sold by the sex shops violate the current law.
Especially, the aphrodisiac is only sold with doctor’s prescription while staff of the shops have no relevant certificates, he added.
Recently, police and relevant authorities in District 6 arrested a lorry and seized a large amount of aphrodisiac and sex toys without origin certificates.