HCM CITY — The HCM City People's Committee has told localities to strengthen inspections of service businesses in an effort to reduce prostitution and other social evils.
|Revelers at a nightclub in HCM City. The city will tighten inspections of service businesses including massage parlours, karaoke bars, discotheques, hotels and restaurants in a move to curb prostitution and social evils. — VNS Photo
Weak cooperation among local authorities and relevant departments, as well as poor management from state authorities, has led to the operation of more disguised prostitute services, said Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the city's People's Committee.
Localities have been asked to limit the number of service businesses in their areas, including massage and karaoke parlours, discotheques, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and barbershops.
The city Social Evils Prevention Division has identified 54 major streets that have the most service businesses.
The city has more than 29,200 service businesses, including 28 discos, 468 karaoke parlours, 943 restaurants, 17,700 hotels, 143 massage parlours. The figure also includes 805 barbershops with female staff.
Last year inspectors fined more than 7,250 businesses a total of VND15 billion (US$715,000) for violating city regulations, said Nguyen Ngoc Thach, head of the division.
A total of 118 prostitutes were sent to rehabilitation centres last year, an increase of 18 per cent against the previous year, Thach said at a meeting held on Wednesday to discuss plans on prevention of social ills.
Prostitution among homosexuals is also on the rise, and there are no regulations in place to tackle the problem, according to Thach.
The city also hopes to reduce by at least 10 per cent the rate of drug addiction relapse against last year, according to Thach.
Last year 380, or 16 per cent of former drug users, relapsed after returning home from rehabilitation centres.
Around 4,500 drug addicts, including those from other cities and provinces, are expected to be sent to rehabilitation centres this year.
Last year rehabilitation centres received nearly 4,200 drug users, an increase of 21 per cent against 2010.
The city plans to open two additional methadone clinics this year.
Five existing clinics in districts of 4, 6, 8, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc have provided methadone maintenance treatment, healthcare and drug-dependence counselling to 1,134 patients. — VNS