Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has said it will step up checks of service establishments that are likely to surreptitiously employ sex workers to combat prostitution.
It said in a report there were 34 roads with such establishments as well as sex workers soliciting on the street in the first half of this year.
It collaborated with the police and other agencies to uncover 63 cases and stop prostitution on 11 of the streets. They are in Bình Tân, Phú Nhuận, Bình Thạnh, and Thủ Đức districts.
Speaking at a workshop to review efforts to crack down on prostitution in the first six months, Lê Văn Quý, deputy head of the department’s Social Evils Prevention Division, said the laws have not kept pace with the changes in society.
For instance, he said, male and gay prostitution and activities to arouse sexual desires, which are common in restaurants, bars, and other establishments, are still not crimes.
Rehabilitation efforts have not been too successful either since the assistance provided to prostitutes to find other livelihoods, in the form of subsidies and short-term vocational training, is inadequate, he added.
A Women’s Union representative concurred, saying the VNĐ5 million given to sex workers is too low.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thanh Hiền of the city Police Agency for Investigation of Crimes against Social Order said prostitutes are using Facebook and Zalo to circulate their pictures for “clients” to choose.
Sex workers have again begun to accompany clients on domestic and foreign tours, he added.
Huỳnh Thanh Khiết, deputy head of the city Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, said the ease of getting a licence for service establishments is also to blame for prostitution.
The city has 17,545 bars, massage parlours, inns and other such place. In the first half of this year 2,767 of them were raided and 46 per cent were found supplying sex workers, and were fined nearly VNĐ 11billion (US$488,888).
The city would force them to pledge they would desist from prostitution and activities meant to arouse sexual desires, Khiết said.
All establishments clandestinely involved in prostitution would be severely dealt with, he said. — VNS