HCM CITY — While there has been a decline in street prostitution, sex work under the guise of other services remains a serious "social evil" in HCM City, Major General Phan Anh Minh, deputy director of the city's Public Security Department, he has said.
Four charged in prostitution
ring face trial
HCM CITY – Four people allegedly involved in a prostitution ring will be tried in court for organising illegal activities, according to the Investigative Police Squad of the HCM City Police Department.
The four people, who are now in police custody, are Tran Quang Mai, born in 1972; Vo Thi My Xuan, born in 1985, who won a beauty contest in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang in 2009; Nguyen Huu Dat, born in 1969; and Le Quang Tuan Anh, born in 1985.
Another defendant, who is a former winner of the Miss Shining Beauty contest, was granted bail because of her pregnancy.
The ring involved several beauty queens, models, students and so-called "hot girls", the latter expression used to describe young women whose beauty is highly regarded on the internet.
Customers paid US$2,000-2,500 for each visit with the girls.
Police said the defendants had also organised "sex tours" for the girls to work in other countries. — VNS
The police recently busted many prostitution rings that were exclusively serving businesspeople, tourists, and the affluent, he told a meeting on Monday.
Nguyen Van Minh, deputy director of the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said it was a tough task to monitor all the licensed services that have mushroomed in recent years.
"It is easy to get licences for establishments like massage parlours, restaurants, hotels, barber shops, and cafes, and many use them as fronts for sex work," he said.
The department regularly cracked down on suspected businesses but the results remained modest because the operators were getting smarter and there was a shortage of manpower, he said.
In many cases, people convicted of prostitution-related offences used other people's names to register for licences to continue their illegal businesses, he added.
The city is also witnessing a rise in the number of methamphetamine addicts, according to a report by the Department of Public Security.
Meth accounted for a third of the total quantity of addictive drugs confiscated this year, and four times that of heroin, which used to be the most popular drug, the report said.
Health, public security and customs authorities complained about the problems faced in managing medicines used in making meth.
Last year pharmaceutical companies in the city had used more than seven tonnes of controlled addictive substances, raising concerns, Minh said.
The city is also a transit point for illegal drug trafficking, with five cases of transnational transportation discovered this year. — VNS